June Internationals: Samoa v Wales Preview


Our rugby scribe previews Friday’s June Test between Samoa and Wales.

Samoa and Wales will lock horns for only the 10th time in history this coming Friday. The game will see the Dragons bring the curtain down on a rather successful mid-year tour of the South Western Pacific, which has seen them defeat the Tongans and blood a few young guns. Samoa haven’t fared as well this June, with their 78-0 defeat to New Zealand last Saturday illustrating just how big a gulf there is between themselves and the Tier 1 nations.

Samoa v Wales | Friday 23 June | Apia Park | 08:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Samoa 39/20 | Draw 25/1 | Wales 37/100
Samoa (+5.5) 9/10 | Wales (-5.5) 9/10

I really felt sorry for the Samoans last week as they were always going to end up on the wrong side of a huge score line with the All Blacks looking to make a big statement before their opening Test against the Lions. The 78-0 score hardly flattered Hansen’s men either with Samoa's leaky midfield defence allowing Beauden Barrett and Co. to run riot.

Now, I’m a huge fan of Tim Nanai Willians, who started at outside centre for Samoa last week, but I think his absence is a blessing in disguise for the Samoans. The little man is a brilliant attacker but he was horribly exposed on defence by cousin Sonny Bill and Anton Linhardt Brown during last week’s drubbing. Nanai-Williams’ place in the side is taken by the much more physical Ray Lee-Lo. This change should solidify the Samoan defence.

The Samoans actually won the last game between the two sides by 19-26, which will buoy them somewhat heading into Friday’s clash at Apia Park.

The Dragons huffed and puffed but eventually managed to blow the Tongan house down last Friday. While it was by no means a free-flowing display from the Welshmen, they did manage to run out comfortable winners and they will have taken a lot of heart from the courage they showed in the face of some physical tackling from the Tongans.

One area which was a bit of a worry was Sam Davies’ goal kicking, with the pivot missing two rather easy shots at goal during the first stanza. He was decent enough with ball in hand, however, and played a large role during the build-up to Alex Cuthbert’s first-half try. Speaking of Cuthbert, the giant winger will miss this week’s game after injuring his shoulder while trying to bag another try.

Verdict: Wales (-5.5) 9/10
I’m banking on this inexperienced Welsh outfit dominating the set piece and thus controlling proceedings. If their big men can do this, then I don’t see them having too many problems clearing what is a rather modest handicap.

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Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net!