Wales must use brains to combat Samoan brawn, insists Jones

WALES captain Ryan Jones has urged his team to “play smart” against the renowned physical threat of Samoa tonight.

Jones and company know exactly what is coming from the South Sea Islanders – an abrasive, big-hitting approach that makes them dangerous opponents.

And when the considerable skills of world-class backs like Seilala Mapusua and David Lemi are bolted on, Samoa possess enough attacking weapons to make life distinctly uncomfortable.

The fixture’s history should also jolt Wales, given they have only beaten Samoa three times from six attempts, with two of those defeats being suffered in Cardiff during World Cup campaigns.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is taking few chances, retaining 10 of the side that started last Saturday’s Millennium Stadium defeat against New Zealand, including six 2009 Lions.

“It’s a huge mark of respect to Samoa, who are a serious threat,” said Ospreys number eight Jones.

“There are not sweeping changes, which allows us to build on our performance of last week.

“There is a core of the team still in place, while it is a fantastic opportunity for those guys coming in which they have got to take with two hands.

“They (Samoa) are going to be big, physical and direct.

“We’ve got to confront that challenge and be extremely combative.”

“The set-piece is going to be key for us and the breakdown area, as it always is. We have got to play smart and make sure we’ve got a good balance to our game.

“We know what is good in our game, and we’ve got to build on that. We’ve been emphasising the need to execute things correctly time and time again.”

Wales’ last two Millennium Stadium Test matches – against Ireland and the All Blacks – saw the home side finish try-less on each occasion.

And while he might have only just turned 20, there is considerable emphasis on fly-half prospect Dan Biggar to drive Wales’ attacking game.

“It is a big game for Dan, a big opportunity for him,” added the skipper.

“He’s been nothing short of superb with the Ospreys this year, and I think people don’t credit him enough for the maturity he brings for someone of his age. He is not overawed by the occasion. He’s a tradesman with a full box of tools.

“Over time I am sure we will see him evolve into a world-class 10. He is slightly opinionated at times, but that’s a strength, a real positive to his game.

“He doesn’t always like being told, but sometimes he is right too, and he is not afraid to tell you. He’s one of those that brings the best out in other.”

WALES: J Hook (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), T James (Cardiff Blues); D Biggar (Ospreys), D Peel (Sale Sharks); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), H Bennett (Ospreys), P James (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Cardiff Blues), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt).

Replacements: M Rees (Scarlets), C Mitchell (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), M Roberts (Scarlets), J Davies (Scarlets), M Stoddart (Scarlets).

SAMOA: L Lui (Apia); D Lemi (Wasps), G Williams (Clermont Auvergne), S Mapusua (London Irish), A Tuilagi (Apia); F Fili (Wellington), J Polu (Bay of Plenty); J Va’a (Glasgow), M Schwalger (Sale Sharks), C Johnston (Toulouse), F Levi (Newcastle), I Tekori (Castres), G Stowers (London Irish, capt), O Treviranis (Apia West), H Tuilagi (Perpignan).

Replacements: A Williams (Apia West), S Taulafo (Tasman), K Thompson (Dax), J Faamatuianu (Bath), U Mai (Apia West), H Fa’afili (Leeds Carnegie), T Esau (Apia West).

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