Wales will enter guns blazing in the second match of Group D at the Rugby World Cup 2011 against Samoa. The Welsh team will have the home advantage as the game will be conducted at Waikato Stadium, Wales this Sunday.
Wales was defeated in a close encounter against RWC champions South Africa at Wellington in their last match but in spite of the loss, Coach Warren Gatland is confident his team will be up to mark against Samoa. “We maintained momentum with aspects of the performance (against the Springboks), providing a host of positive points to take into Sunday’s match against Samoa. We could not fault the effort, passion and commitment of the players last week and we are looking for the same again on Sunday,” Gatland said.
The Welsh team will repeat their squad for this game. The will be the first Wales is lining up same team for consecutive games in Rugby World Cups. "It's a message of confidence in terms of the way we performed last match. We've got everyone fit and hopefully we can build on last week," he said.
Wales’ rugby team is ranked 6th in the IRB World Rankings as Samoa acquire the 10th place. Captain of the Welsh team, Sam Warburton knows his team will enter the ground as favorites therefore expectations will be high. Nonetheless, Warburton declared his men will not be affected by pressure. "It'll be different but things have got to change. If you ask New Zealand or one of the other Tri-Nations teams, they wouldn't care. If you want to be one of the best teams in the world, you have to deal with that pressure," he said.
Samoa were defeated by just a single point against Springboks in their last game however despite the loss they know they can take on even bigger opponents. They will be heading into the game with the same squad and similar tactics.
Samoans could experience fatigue in the game as this would their 2nd match in 4 days. Kane Thompson expressed on the issue, "If we let things like that affect us we won't be focusing on the task at hand. It definitely won't be an excuse." Hooker Mahonri Schwalger was also aware of the disadvantage, he said, "It's pretty harsh, but it's the nature of the tournament. It's about which team can recover quickest and front up."
Samoa will be hoping Alesana Tuilagi will be able to produce the form he hit in the match against Namibia. "I wouldn't like to be standing in front of him when he's in full cry. He's quite a sight when he's in full flight," said Brian McLean, Samoa’s coach.
Wales first team: Paul James , Huw Bennett , Adam Jones , Luke Charteris , Alun Wyn Jones , Danny Lydiate , Sam Warburton , Toby Faletau , Mike Phillips , Rhys Priestland , Shane Williams , Jamie Roberts , Jonathan Davies , George North and James Hook. Substitutes: Lloyd Burns, Gethin Jenkins, Bradley Davies, Andy Powell, Tavis Knoyle, Scott Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.
Samoa first team: Sakaria Taulafo, Mahonri Schwalger, Anthony Perenise, Daniel Leo, Kane Thompson,Ofisa Treviranus, Maurie Faasavalu, George Stowers, Kahn Fotuali'i, Tusi Pisi, Alesana Tuilagi, Seilala Mapusua, George Pisi, Sailosi Tagicakibau and Paul Williams. Substitutes: Ti'i Paulo, Census Johnston, Joe Tekori, Taiasina Tuifua, Jeremy Sua, Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono and Tasesa Lavea.