Preview: Scotland v Samoa
Some of the key stats and analysis ahead of Monday's Pool A encounter against Samoa at Kobe Misaki Stadium.
SCOTLAND v SAMOA
Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City
Monday 30 September | Kick-off: 11.15am (BST), 7.15pm (local time)
Scotland’s second pool game is against Samoa in Kobe. This will be the 12th time the two teams have met (nine Scotland wins, one Samoa win, one draw).
Samoa at a glance
Renowned for the power of their defence and thrilling brand of attacking rugby, Samoa come into the tournament after finishing fourth in the Pacific Nations Cup, with defeats by USA and Fiji.
This will be the fourth time Scotland and Samoa have met at a Rugby World Cup. Scotland won all three previous encounters in 1991, 1999 and 2015, although the game four years ago in Newcastle was a close affair with Greig Laidlaw securing the win with a late try.
Rugby World Cup record
Samoa have reached the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals on two occasions (1991 and 1995 - and the quarter-final play-offs in 1999). In 1991, Western Samoa reached the last eight by virtue of shocking Wales and finishing runners-up to pool winners and eventual champions Australia.
In the last eight, they lost to Scotland 28-6 at Murrayfield in one of the most entertaining games of the tournament. Western Samoa also reached the quarter-finals four years later in South Africa, going down 42-14 to the hosts at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Samoa reached the quarter-final play-offs in 1999, losing 35-20 to Scotland (with Scotland coach Gregor Townsend kicking a drop-goal).
Chris Paterson's thoughts on the game
“I believe Samoa are always stronger in the World Cup than at any other time, be it tour matches or Autumn Tests because sometimes their more experienced players play for their clubs during that period.
“The Rugby World Cup is an ideal opportunity to get them all together. They’ll have trained together in preparation for a lot longer, they’ll be more organised and they’ll be fitter, which is a dangerous mix when they’ve got so much natural talent and physicality.
“The reference point would be the last world cup in St James’ Park when Scotland won 36-33. It was an open game and the lead repeatedly changed hands, so you can almost see how it might go.
“It should be a game that Scotland look forward to – recognising the threat that Samoa pose – but I think it’s a match where, if Scotland get their game right, they could really do well.”
Despite well-documented financial problems, Samoa boast a typically mercurial set of players blessed with rugby brain and brawn.
Veteran pivot Tusi Pisi, now 37, is the country’s record points scorer with 245 and will be fresh in Scottish minds having scored the opening try four years ago.
Marshalling a midfield full of thrust, the former Toulon fly-half is preparing for a third World Cup in a country where he now plies his trade, for the Toyota Industries Shuttles.
One to watch
If Pisi can get his backs the space, then look no further than outside back Tim Nanai-Williams as one of the men to make a difference. The former New Zealand sevens cap switched allegiances to represent Samoa before the last world cup and possesses a jinking side-step that can lure any defender in.
Watching on TV?
In the UK the Scotland v Samoa will be shown live on ITV, kicking off at 11.15am (BST).
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