2017 Rugby League World Cup - Samoa vs Scotland Match Preview

9th Nov 2017 by TSZ

The Lowdown

SAMOA

  • Samoa were involved in a tough encounter with Pacific Island rivals Tonga but fell to a 32-18 defeat, leaving their qualification to the knockout stages coming down to a battle with Scotland.
  • Samoa have now lost their last seven international fixtures and have scored no more than 12 points in five of those six games. 
  • Matt Parish has made numerous changes to his side and notably, selected a new halfback pairing as well as dropping captain Frank Pritchard. Jarome Luai retains his place after receiving a late call-up for the Tonga game but Ben Roberts is dropped in favour of Fa'amanu Brown.  

Head Coach: Matt Parish

Team: Tonumaipea; Leutele, Lafai, Leilua, Wright; Luai, Brown; Junior Paulo, Tevaga, Ese'ese, Papalii, Winterstein, Afoa

Bench: Godinet, Joseph Paulo, Ah Manu, Tagataese

SCOTLAND

  • Scotland fell to their second heavy defeat of the tournament, this time at the hands of New Zealand. They now face Samoa in a winner takes all clash for third place in the group and with it, a quarter-final place.            
  • Their preparation has been rocked after three of their players were sent home for being too drunk to board a flight. One of those players was captain Danny Brough with St Helens prop Luke Douglas set to lead the side.              
  • Steve McCormack's side have now gone six games without a win but if they can break that run they will seal a quarter-final spot. The Head Coach has made numerous changes to his side, mainly thanks to accommodate the loss of Brough, Johnny Walker and Sam Brooks.   

Head Coach: Steve McCormack

Team: Tierney; Toal, Hellewell, Stein, Russell; Addy, Thomas; Douglas, Phillips, Kavanagh, Mariano, Ferguson, Bell

Bench: K. Bentley, Wilkinson, A. Bentley, Anderson

Analysis - what to expect               
Samoa and Scotland have endured difficult times in this tournament so far but the winner of this game will still qualify for the quarter-finals to make this an extremely important affair for both nations. Scotland's build-up couldn't have gone much worse, having been hammered by New Zealand last week before losing three players including their captain after they were refused entry onto a flight as they were too drunk. Both sides have struggled to defend in recent times with Samoa conceding a minimum of 30 points in five of their last six games whilst Scotland have conceded 26 per game over the same period. Despite those records, Samoa are 34 point favourites in this one and should be able to post some points before they head into the quarter-finals. 

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