By Rhys Thomas
September 17 2011
Can Wales bounce back from defeat last week and continue their mission to get to the quarter-finals?
Tomorrow marks arguably the most important match in Pool D. Ever since the draw was made back in 2008, pundits and fans have singled this game out as the second place quarter-final decider.
This was meant to be the flair of Wales against the brute strength of Samoa – and a major upset was on the cards. After the Springboks match last Sunday however, things may have changed. Wales have shown that they can compete with the best, and have some powerful forwards and one of the best back row trios around -and Samoa aren’t just a big tackling team anymore, many of their players are with top European club teams and are well versed in the skills and tactics needed to beat the big teams.
Both teams come into this game with differing results from the last round. Samoa having beaten perennial minnows Namibia 49-12, and Wales suffering a heartbreaking loss to the South Africans. The Welsh are obviously more battle-hardened, and that could be in our favour come kick-off time. There is also the fact that if Wales lose this match, they are out of the World Cup with two group matches still to come. A major incentive and a chilling prospect in equal measure.
One match up that sets the heartbeat going a little faster is on the wing. George North vs Alesana Tuilagi. Two big men with plenty of pace – and they’re not afraid to use it - expect to see some big hits involving these two beasts. Defence will be key for Wales. Stopping men like Tuilagi will take away a large part of the Samoans game. The back row have a job to do – at ruck time and in defence - and I am confident that they will do it. If they play as they did last week, I’m sure we’ll win with room to spare.
Wales need to keep their composure, and be clinical. The players certain have the quality to do that – but do they have the temperament?
PREDICTION: Wales to win by 15