6:20am Friday 16th November 2012
By Chris Kirwan
WALES v SAMOA (Tonight, KO 7.30)
WALES have been handed a chilling warning ahead of tonight’s Test at the Millennium Stadium – this time Samoa are really ready for you.
Recent history suggests that this evening’s clash will test the nerve of Rob Howley’s side as well as their ribs.
Last year Wales edged to a 17-10 World Cup win while they survived a late onslaught to sneak a 17-13 Millennium Stadium win in 2009.
And a member of the Samoa side that came so close to claiming a famous win in Cardiff three years ago believes that the Islanders have every chance of making it over the line this time thanks to a perfect build-up.
“When we played Wales in 2009 we had only been together for three days but this time is different – the boys are really well prepared and I am expecting a massive, massive game from them,” said Newport Gwent Dragons centre Andy Tuilagi.
“We had a really good win against Canada last week (42-12, scoring five tries) and I think they needed that because too often we are given big games without the chance to warm up.
“I went to see them this week and they are in good spirits and ready for this. They were chilled, but when they get out onto the pitch they will definitely be up for it and will come flying out.”
This evening will be the first time since the 1999 World Cup that Wales go up against a Samoa side without a Tuilagi in it.
Andy and his brothers Freddie (centre), Henry (flanker) and Alex (wing) have previously played in this fixture and there will be a sizeable family presence – minus youngest brother Manu, who will be preparing to play in England’s midfield against Australia tomorrow – in the Millennium Stadium stands.
That they are punters rather than out in the middle will be of some relief to the Wales camp given the bone-shuddering tackle by Andy that floored James Hook in 2009.
And the Dragons powerhouse believes his countrymen will show there is a lot more to their game than hard-hitting.
“We still love the big impacts, of course, but there is a lot more to us than that,” said the 26-year-old, who still harbours ambitions of adding to his 14 caps.
“Look through our side and you will see a lot of quality and players that are experienced and playing at big European clubs.
“It should be a great game because Wales will want to hit back after losing to Argentina while we will want to prove a point after it being so close in the World Cup.”
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