Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Robinson warning over Samoa

Andy Robinson says Samoa will be a tough side to beat on Saturday

Coach Andy Robinson has warned Scotland face a strong Samoa side as they bid to complete a clean sweep of their three-Test summer tour.

A hugely impressive upset win over Australia was followed by victory over Fiji, with Samoa the last remaining obstacle for the Scots, but Robinson is taking nothing for granted and is impressed by a Samoan side which shows five changes from the one that clinched the Pacific Nations Cup by beating Japan last weekend.

"There are a lot of players who are playing in Europe, there are some outstanding talents, some young talent as well as some of the old heads like Johnston," Robinson observed.

With players such as Census Johnston, the giant Toulouse prop, and Tusi Pisi, the Wellington playmaker, returning to the team they are even stronger than the one that won the Pacific title.

Robinson added: "They are a physical pack and those people who have not seen Maurie Fa'asavalu play for Harlequins are in for a treat. He is a big hitter and a strong runner.

"The other thing that I look at is the half-backs, the nine and 10, [Kahn Fotualii and Pisi], who are both quality players. So it is going to be a really tough Test match for us, but all the boys have real belief in what we are about."

Scotland will face likely 30-degree temperatures in the tropical sun, meaning the game will be a test of their stamina in the heat as much as their rugby prowess.

Their preparations have also been hit by a late injury scare surrounding Nick De Luca. The centre, who had an outstanding game in Fiji, became a late worry when he failed to finish the final training session before the game at Apia Park.

"There is a slight injury concern about him," said Robinson after the session. "He has a slightly strained thigh but we will wait until morning before making a decision. Joe Ansbro will come in if he is not fit."

There are no other worries, meaning that flanker Al Strokosch and prop Euan Murray, who had been concerns earlier in the week after injuring a calf muscle and knee respectively, both came through without any further alarm and will take their places in the team as scheduled.