James ready for physical Samoa test
Wales prop Paul James has no doubt where Sunday's crucial World Cup clash against Samoa will be won or lost, declaring: "It all starts up front."
James and company head into a game they must win at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium, otherwise Wales will be left facing the probability of making a pool stage exit and Samoa have caught Wales on the hop before, winning both their previous World Cup meetings in 1991 and 1999.
"We know they are going to come hard and that we are going to have to match them," said James, a player who has started all 10 of Wales' Test matches this year. "It all starts up front. Samoa are a big, physical bunch and we are going to have to try to control that area of the game from the start."
He added: "Hopefully then we can open up some space for our backs. It's going to be a tough day.
"As a bunch of forwards, we have to get our heads switched on again and be ready for the physical battle. We need to bring our top game with us this weekend."
Wales are facing what amounts to a knockout game, a fact acknowledged by the players all week, although James insists it does not change the mindset.
"If we lose we will more than likely be out of the tournament," he added. "But we've trained hard everyone is switched on ready to go.
"We are aiming to win every game, and we just have to make sure we are focusing on our own roles, know what we are doing and go into this game confident.
"We were very happy with the way we went against South Africa.
"There was a lot of talk before the game about the South African forwards being stronger than ours, but as a pack we did well against them."