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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Samoa likely to put up a strong challenge

Fly-half Sam can play it again for young Dragons

Sam Davies is tackled as he tries to make a break against Tonga
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BBC2 Wales & S4C, 7.30am Friday

While a young Wales side got their summer tour off to a winning start with a 24-6 success over Tonga, Samoa crashed to a 78-0 humbling to New Zealand, but neither scoreline tells the whole story.

Wales struggled with the physicality of the Tongans for long spells and held a narrow 11-6 lead with 15 minutes to go. Two late penalties were fair reward for the edge Wales held in possession and territory, but a last-minute penalty try gave the final score a slanted look.

It's hard to say a scoreline as emphatic as 78-0 is unrepresentative but Samoa were fully in the game for the first half-hour. At 7-0 down they butchered a chance to draw level then conceded a crazy try off a counter-attack that seemed to take the wind out of their sails.

As the All Blacks found their feet it became a procession against a tiring and demoralised team, but Wales are likely to face the full brunt of their onslaught in Apia.

Samoa have made seven changes to their team including the inclusion of veteran captain Brian Lima, while Wales have made a similar number of changes with lock Rory Thornton making his debut, two players making their first starts and two uncapped players on the bench.

It's a tough task for such an inexperienced team, as reflected by the handicap of six points. But this is a chance for creative young fly-half Sam Davies to show what he can do after he was hampered by the conditions and physical opponents last week.

There is firepower in the team and Davies has the game to unleash it, but they may well have to fend off another strong early challenge.

Recommendation
Wales -3 on second-half handicap

1pt 10-11 Coral, Hills, Ladbrokes

It's a tough task for such an inexperienced team, as reflected by the handicap of six points
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