Hodge expects formidable test from much-changed Samoa

Scotland assistant coach Duncan Hodge has warned into reading too much into Samoa’s defeat at altitude to a South African representative side in Johannesburg yesterday.

Scotland, who arrived in Durban on Saturday after a 22 hour journey from Murrayfield, face Samoa here next Saturday (8 June) in their opening match in a quadrangular tournament that also features South Africa and Italy.

Hodge, along with forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys and defence coach Matt Taylor, were straight off the plane from the UK to the match at Ellis Park, which the Golden Lions, dominating setpiece, won 74-14.

Hodge told www.scottishrugby.org : “It was pretty tough for Samoa playing at altitude.  They have anywhere between 9-12 players still to arrive over today and tomorrow, so it will be a much different team come Saturday and will be a huge task for us.”

Scotland pipped Samoa 17-16 courtesy of a late Robert Harley try, converted by the immaculate boot of Greig Laidlaw, one year ago in the stifling heat of Apia and Hodge expects a similarly intense struggle this week.

Wales beaten in autumn

He noted that Samoa are currently ranked seventh in the world – three places above Scotland – having defeated Six Nations champions Wales in Cardiff during the Autumn, then run France very close.

Scotland resume squad rugby training tomorrow (Monday) having undertaken active recovery sessions by the ocean both yesterday and today, while the kickers did a light practice at Crawford College in Durban this afternoon.