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Samoa will target Wales - Richard Hibbard

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 12, 2012

Richard Hibbard
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WALES expect Samoa to look to twist the knife after Saturday's damaging defeat against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

While Rob Howley's side were going down 26-12, the islanders were destroying Canada 42-12 at Colwyn Bay, scoring five tries, four of them from their exciting wing discovery Robert Lilomaiava.

And Wales's players now reckon Kahn Fotuali'i, Census Johnston and Co will be scenting blood after the most dispiriting Welsh defeat since Warren Gatland took over in 2008.

"Samoa will target us," forecast Hibbard, who will hope to start in the encounter in Cardiff on Friday evening.

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"They'll be looking for a good result and it will be tough, a really physical battle. Their players are hard-hitters, so we'll expect some big collisions.

"A lot of their squad play over here and we face them fairly regularly, so we know how good they are.

"This series just gets more and more physical."

The Samoans memorably won in Cardiff in 1991 and 1999, shocking Wales at World Cups, and they will be aiming to consolidate their position in the third pot of seeds for the next global tournament by toppling a side above them.

For Wales, the heat is on, with three defeats against Australia now followed by their first setback in the Gatland era against a team from a non-IRB foundation union.

Wing Alex Cuthbert said: "Samoa will be gunning for us.

"The boys beat them at the World Cup in a tough match, and I think they will give us another hard game on Friday.

"They have class players out wide and up front — they're just a dangerous team."

Wales have injuries to contend with ahead of their scheduled team announcement tomorrow, with Alun Wyn Jones damaging the AC joint in his left shoulder and Jamie Roberts leaving the field with concussion.

They expect to learn imminently how long Ospreys skipper Jones could be out for, but on Saturday evening the outlook wasn't bright, with Howley admitting: "It doesn't look good."

The acting head coach will looking for a reaction and he is likely to get one, with Hibbard expecting a bruising training week, with players looking to prove points.

"That'll definitely be on the cards," he said.

"It's just disappointing that we lost against Argentina. We targeted it as a game to win, but we made basic errors and weren't good enough.

"But I don't think there's a need to panic — there isn't anything we can't put right."

The hooker, outstanding for the Ospreys this season, said: "I'm like any player in that I want to start, but I guess I have to bide my time.

"It's about working hard in training, trying to tick every box and hoping it might come my way eventually.

"You just want to get on the pitch now and put this one behind us as a team. We can learn a lot from it for the next three."

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