Analysing the Samoans

When you look at the Samoan team there are a few frames that stick out. Namely, those of Mapasua and Tuilagi.

These brutes are lethal barrelling into contact but, more importantly, they can offload at pace. In attack, Samoa offer targets; big men run hard, at a high tempo and some of them are a bit selfish with the ball. Unfortunately for us if the selfish run is from Mapasua (who always reminds me of a Mexican villain in a Western), Tuilagi, Stowers or Lemi then they are strong enough and aware enough to chuck an offload in. You know – that thing that apparently only Sonny Bill Williams is capable of…

Apart from this running threat though they can be lateral, and their skills, particularly in the front 5, leave a lot to be desired. Pick and gos, mauls and runners from 9 suit Scotland’s defence. Furthermore their scrum should never worry us; they rely on size and strength more than timing and technique. By the same token lineouts seem a bit of a mystery, to us and them, as they just want to run the ball. Let them use slow ball and it could be to Scotland’s advantage.

However, where the Islanders are most dangerous is at the breakdown, where they career into contact, and in defence. You only had to look at the fear in the eyes of Toby Flood (who always looks like he’s discovered hair gel for the first time) last week to appreciate the regard Samoan tackling is held in. They will go for a monster hit every single defensive phase.

This dedication to the ‘King-Hit’, though, is also a weakness of theirs. By narrowing in on 10 and 12 at every phase gaps appear out wide later on in the play. Also there is room for a blind winger to appear late on 10’s outside shoulder. The gaps out wide will be more apparent at 4th or 5th phase, but we have to use it wisely. Either QB Dan Parks ventures out of his pocket (even though he HATES being in the firing line!) to draw men and give a well timed pass to a backline running straight or, as is more likely, Parks puts in a crossfield kick to a Lamont/Walker or a Hines/Vernon.

If we are to build on that huge success last week we must put Samoa to the sword. This means scoring that illusive try. It should come on Saturday. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it comes from a back (gulp!) after some (possibly literally) sacrificial build up play. These are brave and interesting times for the number 6 team on the planet. We shouldn’t have to always grind it out, so here’s hoping it all clicks in the grey city…

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2 comments on “Analysing the Samoans

  1. Graham on

    Really looking forward to the game.
    Should be a good game, and a few Scottish tries would be nice.
    On the downside though, the weather is pretty dire up north at the moment. Aberdeen is covered in snow and more’s expected.
    Still this could favour Scotland as I doubt Samoa are big on snow!
    also, so happy just met Graeme Morrison and Richie Vernon at my school :D

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