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Wales 17-13 Samoa

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    Wales 17-13 Samoa

    WALES v SAMOA
    Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: 13 November Kick-off: 1930 GMT
    Coverage: Live on BBC TWO Wales & online, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, plus radio commentary online





    Wales have vowed to learn the lessons of past nightmares against south sea-island opposition as the physically intimidating Samoans come to Cardiff.Samoa famously overturned Wales in their own back yard in 1991 and 1999, but Tom Shanklin has in mind another World Cup loss, against Fiji in 2007.

    "We tried to play a lot of rugby in the game, hopefully we've learnt, we can't take the islanders lightly," he said.

    Wales make five changes from last week, opting for a side with points to prove.

    While the survivors from Saturday's 19-12 Millennium Stadium defeat to New Zealand will be eager to get a win on the board, the young newcomers are anxious to showcase their ability and make a case for consideration above Wales' established stars.

    Open-side flanker Sam Warburton has been circumspect in describing how he is still learning from the seemingly irreplaceable Martyn Williams.

    But 20-year-old fly-half Dan Biggar has laid down a warning to another rested Lions Test star, Stephen Jones, saying that the Wales 10 jersey is in his sights now that he has displaced James Hook from the Ospreys shirt.

    Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams has also been put on alert by incoming wing Tom James.

    "I don't want to be a replacement any more, I want to stake my claim for the number 11 jersey," said James.


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    "I started two Tests on the summer tour of North America, but playing in front of my own crowd will be the best feeling of my career."

    James is part of an all-Cardiff Blue three-quarter line, alongside Leigh Halfpenny and centres Shanklin and Jamie Roberts, who will be anxious to prove the pundits wrong after the All Blacks defeat.

    In-form Scarlet Jonathan Davies will be chomping at the bit on the bench, eager to show that he can fill the creative void that has been perceived in the Wales centre since Gavin Henson went missing.

    Dwayne Peel hopes to prove himself as Wales' number-one scrum-half after a player-release row kept him out last week, while up front hooker Huw Bennett needs a big game and prop Paul James will build vital experience at tight-head ahead of next week's Test against hard-scrummaging Argentina.

    The tight will be an area where Wales will hope to squeeze Samoa, who could suffer from a lack of organisation having only gathered their geographically dispersed squad this week.

    Wales failed to capitalise on such advantages in the infamous 2007 loss to Fiji and in successive defeats to Samoa in 1991, 1994 and 1999, too often choosing to take on the islanders at their own style of deconstructed running game.

    "We need to match them up front and physically," said Shanklin, who will be performing under the Millennium Stadium roof in front of an expected crowd of over 50,000.

    "The three [Samoa] losses will be on our mind - although I wasn't involved in any them!

    "We said after the New Zealand loss that there are three games left [in the autumn series] and we want three wins.

    "Samoa have a lot of players from the Guinness Premiership and many of them are on form. They will be tough but we are up for it."



    Samoa, 11th in the IRB world rankings, rarely need an incentive to bring their imposing and flair-filled fury to the rugby pitch, but a tragic September in the south Pacific has brought an added poignancy to this Test.

    More than 170 people died when a tsunami - triggered by an earthquake - hit Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

    The players have vowed to use the disaster to motivate themselves and to give a boost to their suffering fans at home.

    "It's going to be a lot to play for now, not only for the people back home, but for the rest of the people that lost their lives," said Samoa captain George Stowers.

    "Rugby back home is our number one sport and it's the one that's been carrying the flag for Samoa, especially in the past in the 1991 World Cup.

    "Before that people would ask where is Samoa and then they knew where it was.

    "I was a young fella watching [in 1991 and 1999] and the two [wins] make a special bond.

    "I think every time Wales play Samoa, it's always going to bring back the memories of those games in the history."

    Despite missing London Irish wing Sailosi Tagicakibau, the islanders field a tough-looking side, 13 of their starting line-up plying their trade in tough leagues in Britain, France and New Zealand.

    With the overall series between the two nations standing at three wins apiece, both teams will be anxious to gain the upper hand before another World Cup encounter, in Hamilton in 2011.

    • A collection to raise funds for those affected by the tsunami will be held at the game and the Welsh Rugby Union has pledged to make a donation for rugby development there.




    Wales: James Hook (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Tom James (all Cardiff Blues); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Dwayne Peel (Sale); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Huw Bennett, Paul James (both Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Andy Powell, Sam Warburton (both Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt).
    Replacements: Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Craig Mitchell (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Martin Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Morgan Stoddart (all Scarlets).

    Samoa: Lolo Lui (Apia); David Lemi (Wasps/ENG), Gavin Williams (Clermont/FRA), Seilala Mapusua (London Irish/ENG), Anitelea Tuilagi (Sale/ENG); Fa'atonu Fili (Wellington/NZ), Junior Poluleuligaga (Bay of Plenty/NZ); Justin Va'a (Glasgow/SCO), Mahonri Schwalger (Sale/ENG), Census Johnston (Toulouse/FRA), Filipo Levi (Newcastle/ENG), Iosefa Tekori (Castres/FRA), George Stowers (capt, London Irish/ENG), Ofisa Treviranus (Apia West), Henry Tuilagi (Perpignan/FRA).
    Replacements: Andrew Williams (Apia West), Sakaria Taulafo (Tasman/NZ), Kane Thompson (Dax/FRA), Jonathon Fa'amatuainu (Bath/ENG), Uale Mai (Apia West), Henry Fa'afili (Leeds Carnegie/ENG), Titi Esau (Apia West).

    Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

    Assistant referees: Dave Pearson (England), Rob Debney (England)

    Television match officials: Geoff Warren (England)

    Assessor: Bob Francis (New Zealand)
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