Samoa on weak Wales warpath
SAMOA will be scenting Welsh blood after Rob Howley’s side made a disastrous start to the autumn series.
The Pacific Islanders head to Cardiff on Friday evening buoyed by a 42-12 destruction of Canada while Wales are battered and bruised after a 26-12 humbling at the hands of Argentina.
Centre Jamie Roberts (mild concussion) and lock Alun Wyn Jones (shoulder) joined an already lengthy injury list and question marks hang over a number of misfiring players.
Wales headed into the autumn series with a target of three wins but that is already looking optimistic given that world champions New Zealand visit the Millennium Stadium on November 24.
In fact, avoiding a whitewash is their most pressing concern given their appalling display against the Pumas.
Hooker Richard Hibbard admitted that Friday’s visitors will be licking their lips after such a horror show.
“Samoa will target us,” said the Ospreys front-row forward. “It’s going to be a tough game, a really physical battle.
“Their players are hard-hitters so we will expect some big collisions – this series just gets more physical.
“A lot of the Samoa squad play over here and we go up against them week in, week out, so we know how good they are.
“But I don't think there is any need to panic. There's nothing that we can't put right.
“We’re looking forward to reviewing the Argentina game, getting on the training park, sorting it out and then trying to come up with a big game against Samoa.”
Interim head coach Howley, who is in the hotseat until Lions boss Warren Gatland returns to take charge of the All Blacks and Australia games, will face calls to ring the changes.
Dan Biggar, Justin Tipuric and Mike Phillips should be brought into the line-up after a performance that the caretaker boss admitted was unacceptable.
“Disappointed, frustrated and annoyed because we know that we are a better side than that,” said Howley.
“We looked one-paced and looked in second gear.
“It's a setback but we've got three games to go.
“We've started slowly but need to get back to winning ways against Samoa.
“We need all the self-belief and confidence that we showed in abundance when winning the Grand Slam.”