Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Gatland shows Samoa respect

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is expecting a stiff challenge from Samoa at the Millennium Stadium in the Invesco Perpetual Series clash on Friday night (KO 7.30pm).

Gatland has made five changes to the line-up which succumbed to the All Blacks last Saturday but feels Wales still boasts a formidable side.

"We've named a strong side and shown the maximum amount of respect to Samoa," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"They have proved to be a difficult side for Welsh teams in the past and we don't expect the standard to be any different on Friday night.

"They are a tough physical team with players featuring for some of Europe's top sides and there is no question of us under-estimating what we are up against.

"Dan Biggar is a bright prospect and his performances at the Ospreys this season mean he fully deserves his opportunity. Dan is surrounded by experience with Dwayne Peel and Jamie Roberts on either side of him which should help further smooth his transition to international rugby.

"Tom James has another chance to show us what he can do and Sam Warburton has been knocking on the door for some time after impressing the coaches on tour to North America this summer.

"But elsewhere we have maintained a consistency in selection and we will be looking to put a performance in on Friday night that will help create the momentum to finish of this series with wins and build on what we achieved for large parts of the game against New Zealand."

WALES: James Hook; Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Tom James, Dan Biggar, Dwayne Peel; Gethin Jenkins, Huw Bennett, Paul James, Alun-Wyn Jones,
Luke Charteris, Andy Powell, Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones (Capt)
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Craig Mitchell, Bradley Davies, Jonathan Thomas, Martin Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Morgan Stoddart


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