Wales look to build momentum against Samoa
November 11, 2009
Dwayne Peel is back at scrum-half for Wales © Getty Images
Wales coach Warren Gatland has resisted the urge to ring the changes for his side's Millennium Stadium showdown with Samoa on Friday.
Gatland has shown maximum respect to Samoa, who have defeated Wales twice at World Cups, in 1991 and 1999. There are five changes to the side that lost to New Zealand last weekend, with Dwayne Peel and Dan Biggar forming a new halfback partnership.
Blues flyer Tom James starts on the wing after some impressive regional form this season and Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett replaces Matthew Rees. The final change comes in the back-row, where Sam Warburton deputises for his Blues team-mate Martyn Williams.
Ryan Jones and Andy Powell continue in the back-row and there is also no change in the centre where Jamie Roberts and Tom Shanklin are retained. James Hook and Leigh Halfpenny also back-up from last weekend and Hook is again named at fullback.
London Irish flanker George Stowers will captain Samoa. Stowers is one of five Guinness Premiership players named in the starting line-up for the game, which will also help to raise funds for the recent Tsunami that devastated Samoa.
Wasps wing David Lemi and Exiles centre Seilala Mapusua will showcase their explosive talents in the backline, with Mapusua joined in the midfield by Clermont Auvergne's Gavin Williams. Williams has returned to France with his pregnant wife, but is expected to return.
Newcastle Falcons lock Filipo Levi packs down behind a powerful front-row containing Glasgow's Justin Va'a, Sale's Mahonri Schwalger and Toulouse prop Census Johnston.
Wales: J Hook (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), T James (Cardiff Blues); D Biggar (Ospreys), D Peel (Sale Sharks); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), H Bennett (Ospreys), P James (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Cardiff Blues), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt)
Replacements: M Rees (Scarlets), C Mitchell (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), M Roberts (Scarlets), J Davies (Scarlets), M Stoddart (Scarlets)
Samoa: L Lui (Apia); D Lemi (Wasps), G Williams (Clermont Auvergne), S Mapusua (London Irish), A Tuilagi (Apia); F Fili (Wellington), J Polu (Bay of Plenty); J Va'a (Glasgow), M Schwalger (Sale Sharks), C Johnston (Toulouse); F Levi (Newcastle), I Tekori (Castres); G Stowers (London Irish, capt), O Treviranis (Apia West), H Tuilagi (Perpignan)
Replacements: A Williams (Apia West), S Taulafo (Tasman), K Thompson (Dax), J Faamatuianu (Bath), U Mai (Apia West), H Fa'afili (Leeds Carnegie), T Esau (Apia West)
Fifteen months ago Miles Benjamin fractured his neck playing for Leicester. Fast-forward to December and he's knocking on the England door. Here is his story
"The real problem rugby faces is the concussion tests in place can be manipulated by the players." Part two of Rory Lamont on concussion. Part one is here
"The Lions is a meritocracy, pure and simple." The Crooked Feed gives its view on Gatland's call for a Lions quota system
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with a topless Carlin Isles and scantily clad Waratahs players featuring