Preview: Scotland v Samoa
Preview: Scotland v SamoaSHARE
Scotland hope to build on last weekend’s 21-17 victory against the world champion Springboks with a big win against the very physical Samoa on Saturday in Edinburgh.
The triumph in the pouring rain against South Africa displayed the new fighting spirit coach Andy Robinson has embedded into Scotland as they recovered from the hiding inflicted on them just a week earlier by the All Blacks.
Scotland have climbed to a new high of sixth place in the IRB rankings and it will take a win against Samoa to keep that well earned position.
The Pacific Islanders have done their reputation no harm on this tour, having given both Ireland and England scares in the past couple of weeks.
The one thing missing from Samoa’s tour is a a victory against one of the Six Nations big guns, and they won’t be holding back when the tackle Scotland.
The sheer physicality on defence by the Samoans caught both Ireland and England off-guard and their success in the Sevens circuit appears to have rubbed off on the 15 man game with a real sense of belief amongst the players.
A solid scrum is not something usually associated with Samoa, but they showed their new found pride in the set pieces against Ireland and Scotland will need to bring their ‘A’ game come Saturday.
Without and giant names in their line-ups, both sides rely one a well executed team effort rather than a moment of individual brilliance to win their matches.
Despite their massive improvement this year Scotland are far from the finished article and are vulnerable against any team who does their homework and is able to accurately exposes their weaknesses.
Scotland are not used to going into Test matches as the overwhelming favourites, but that is what they will be on Saturday and a defeat would be devastating and might undo a lot of the good work done over the past year.
Players to watch: For Scotland their tighthead prop Euan Murray has developed a big reputation as a powerful weapon at scrum time and he will want to flex his muscles against a less experienced Samoan front row. On the side of the scrum John Barclay is a star in the making and has already shown he can compete amongst the best openside flanks in the world, so he will be keen to run amok at the breakdown and attack the Samoan halfbacks on defence. For Samoa their inside centre Seilala Mapusua has been in sparkling form and will put in some of his trade mark bone-crunching tackles on anyone who dares to venture into his midfield channel. On the wing Alesana Tuilagi is as big and strong as they come in the backline with plenty of pace to burn if he is allowed any space to run.
Head to Head: There is an important battle between the two scrumhalves, who will both want to supply quick accurate ball to their backlines. Scotland’s captain Rory Lawson had a good outing against the Boks and has plans to make the No.9 jersey his own by beating off the challenge from Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter. Samoa’s Kahn Fotuali’i has been their star of the tour and always looks in control of the game even when he is playing on the losing side. His sniping breaks and quick thinking making him more than a handful to try and contain.
2005: Scotland won 18-11 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2004: Scotland won 38-3 at Westpac Trust, Wellington
2000: Scotland won 31-8 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1999: Scotland won 35-20 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1995: Test was drawn 15-15 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1991: Scotland won 28-6 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
rugby365.com Prediction: Scotland are a settled team now and should be too strong and organised for Samoa, although the Pacific Islanders have impressed all and sundry on their tour thus far. Samoa will hit Scotland hard and look to disrupt the apple cart and if they can get their noses in front it don’t rule out an upset. A shock victory for Samoa by 5 or less.
Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson (captain), 8 Richie Vernon, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Moray Low, 18 Jim Hamilton, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Max Evans.
Samoa: 15 Paul Williams, 14 David Lemi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tasesa Lavea, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 George Stowers, 7 Manaia Salavea, 6 Ofisa Trevarinus, 5 Kane Thompsen, 4 Filipo Lavea Levi, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (captain), 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Iosefa Tekori, 19 Afa Aiono, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Daniel Leo, 22 Fautua Otto.
Date: Saturday, November 27
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT)
Weather forcast: Very cold with snow showers throughout the day and a maximum of -2°C and minimum of -5°C.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker and Cobus Wessels (both South Africa)
TMO: Tony Redmond (Ireland)
By Timmy Hancox