Autumn Internationals: Wales v Samoa Prediction

Justin TipuricThe vociferous jeers that rang around the Millennium Stadium on Saturday afternoon might haunt Rob Howley for some time. Quite simply, his side were a distant second best to Argentina – outfought, outthought and overrun by a pack of hungry Pumas, battle-hardened from a summer alongside the southern hemisphere giants.

If Wales had planned an easy start to their autumn, an ignominious 26-12 beating should finally evaporate any remaining complacency. After all, as they reel on the ropes, the biggest hitters in world rugby are rolling into Cardiff. Flying off a comprehensive 42-12 victory over Canada a week ago, Samoa will be hard to stop.

Reasons to back Wales

The excuses have all gone. Suggestions of ring-rust and carelessness may have offered the hosts an easy way out last time, but there is nothing left to blame. Lose this, and Wales will have undone their glorious Grand Slam by falling to five consecutive Test defeats. With precious IRB points at stake, that is unthinkable. For ranking and reputation, this is frankly do-or-die. Thankfully for Howley, desperation can sometimes make a team dangerous.

On paper at least, Welsh fans can be encouraged by a more robust-looking selection, albeit with a couple of brave calls. A new-look pairing of Mike Phillips and Dan Biggar at half-back should provide composure and structure – two elements that were distinctly lacking against Argentina. Up front, Paul James and Bradley Davies bring bulk to bolster the tight five, while old warhorse Ryan Jones comes in for Josh Turnbull and will captain, given that Sam Warburton is rested. And that leads nicely to the final point.

Justin Tipuric, on the back of an exceptional 2012, has finally broken the door down. Many backed him to usurp his skipper before now, but should the Osprey replicate some super-charged cameos for an extended period, the openside spot is his for the taking. Potential showdowns with David Pocock and Riche McCaw await, too – an extremely alluring prospect for a man who could well end up among the Lions’ contingent this summer.

Reasons to back Samoa

Just as Wales will feel the weight of a cynical, scrupulous home crowd, Samoa are free from any burden of expectation. Flying the flag for world rugby’s often-neglected ‘tier two’ nations, the islanders also will launch into tackles and carries with characteristically manic aggression. If Argentina was physically arduous, this promises to be ferocious.

However, that is not to say that Samoa will act like unguided missiles. In Census Johnston, Daniel Leo and Maurie Faasavulu, they have a trio of club veterans whose know-how and set-piece strength can direct their less seasoned colleagues. Scrum half Kahn Fotuali’i also brings the added bonus of inside knowledge, having spent the past season and a half with the Ospreys.

Diminutive Worcester livewire David Lemi represents the final change to the line-up that dismissed the Cannucks, and has the pace and mazy running ability to worry far brawnier opposite number Alex Cuthbert, just as Juan did last week. Even if Lemi does not reach his brilliant best, four-try debutant Robert Lilomaiava is among the replacements.

Prediction: The top eight of the IRB rankings beckons for Samoa, a coup that would act as a huge boost for the nation. However, Wales have some serious wrongs to right and should get back on track under the Friday night lights. Wales by eight.

By Charlie Morgan 

17 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals: Wales v Samoa Prediction

  1. We have a terrible record in this supposedly lesser Friday night AIs recently. The Fiji debacle, draws, etc. I’ll be watching this through my fingers but surely Wales can’t mess this one up.

  2. You have to favour Wales to win after last week.

    Samoa are no pushovers though and will certainly make a game of it.

    Wales by 5.

  3. I do think that Wales should and will win this one. Samoa will run them close though.

    Also, interesting wording on Warburton suggesting that he has been rested? Not dropped?

    What are peoples thoughts on this?

    1. mmhhm not really sure about rest/swapped. Its convenient isn’t it?

      I was expecting to see Warburton at 6. Perhaps they will go for that if Justin goes well?

  4. On Warburton he is rested and would have been even if he had played a blinder last weekend ,he wasn’t the worst Welsh forward topping the tackle count but was anonymous by his high standards .Tipuric deserves his chance but also needs a blinder to shift Warburton who is as Howley says still squad captain.

    Hands between fingers is right and having been there in both 91 and 99 I’ve donated my tickets to my daughter hoping she doesn’t repeat the experience.

  5. Have Wales ever won a Friday eve match? However despite this meaningless stat, I think Wales will win comfortably. They will be fired up after last week.

  6. Don’t worry. I can see Wales winning this one by a couple of scores. They won’t play like last weekend.

    Not sure Howley has done anything but fan the flames over Warburton/Tipuric.

  7. Hi guys. Thanks for the comments. Steve James at the Sunday Telegraph reported a while back that Warburton would be rested before the New Zealand-Australia fortnight. I think making that decision so early has made it tough for Howley, though — if Tipuric has a stormer, it will be very tough to move him back to to the bench.

    In my opinion, they could shoe-horn Faletau, Warburton and Tipuric into the back row, but that’s another story.

    Ryan Jones is going to be very important tonight

  8. Are you guys being serious – if your doubting that Wales might lose this one then we may as well pack the game up. People shouting about Argentina etc – these teams Wales should be putting away comfortably – if not we are not performing and should never expect to be one of the big 5. Provisional rugby does not help Welsh performances, the Blues especially – we are going badly wrong somewhere. Wales by 15 if we manage to play some rugby and can catch the ball

  9. LMAO – not even 3rd tier – thought the Valleys TV show was derogative to Wales but this performance far exceeds that. Samoa a better team in every aspect – Wales could not score a try without opposition because they would knock on – Wales have no imagination, flair, initiative and will compete for the wooden spoon in the 6 nations and we deserve it. We are plastic, hopeless and the last 12 months mean nothing now – worst Team in the NH by a long way – the only way forward is backwards – ranking 9th – 10th if lucky. Oh how the English will be laughing and rightly so.

  10. Amathus I know it’s a long standing tradition for the English/Welsh to jibe each other after defeat but this is wrong. We know that Wales have the ability to play great rugby. What has gone wrong? I hope you sort it out because the NH rugby is poorer for this sort of performance. Well done Samoa – you clearly wanted the win – well deserved. Yes. I`m English but I hoped Wales would do the job today.

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