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Players prepared for 20-minute bombardment

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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WALES have sounded a 20-minute warning ahead of their encounter with the hardest tacklers in world rugby tomorrow evening.

Beaten by Argentina last weekend, Rob Howley's players desperately need a victory against Samoa at the Millennium Stadium ahead of games against New Zealand and Australia.

But they are expecting the islanders to shell them in the opening quarter with big hits backed by relentlessly physical commitment.

"They will target the first 20 minutes and come flying out at us," said Alex Cuthbert.

"We just have to make sure we weather the storm. You don't think about the big hits when you're on the pitch.

"If you think you're going to get injured it will increase the chances of that happening. You just have to take it."

The 6ft 6in Cuthbert, who has scored six tries in as many games this season, continued: "A lot of the boys have been playing for years and are used to big tackles.

"Problems only arise if you get a cheap shot that you are not ready for or don't know much about.

"We know that Samoa have big, strong players who will put the hits in.

"Personally, I don't mind the physical stuff. This will be one of our biggest tests, but the England game in last year's Six Nations was physical and so were the games with Australia in the summer.

"We just have to deal with what's coming and try to play rugby. Hopefully, we will come out on top."

Samoa will hope to find Wales at their most vulnerable, with the Argentina setback coming after three defeats in a row in Australia in the summer.

The self-belief built up by last season's Grand Slam, Wales's third in eight seasons, is threatening to drain from Howley's players when they need it most, with the All Blacks visiting a week on Saturday.

But they believe a united front can yield dividends against Samoa.

"We paid the price for errors individually and collectively against Argentina," said Ryan Jones.

"The way to put things right is by working as a team.

"It's not about individuals. It's about taking control, and you do that with all 15 players playing together.

"If everyone does his job, we will come out on top."

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