Hibbard expects tough Samoa test

PA Sport
Richard Hibbard could be drafted into the Wales team to face Samoa
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Richard Hibbard could be drafted into the Wales team to face Samoa

Richard Hibbard expects Samoa to come at Wales "big time" in next Friday night's clash at the Millennium Stadium.

Ospreys hooker Hibbard could be among the changes made to a Wales team horribly outplayed by Argentina that resulted in last season's RBS 6 Nations champions being beaten 26-12.

"It's going to be another tough game, a physical battle," he said. "This autumn series just gets more physical and there are going to be some big hard hits. I think they will target us big time. We definitely must not panic, but it is nothing we can't put right. We will be looking to hit lumps out of each other in training this week."

He added: "Argentina were aggressive physically, in attack and defence. They tackled and carried hard. We knew what was coming, and in fairness they didn't tire and came at us for the full 80 minutes.

"It was disappointing because we had targeted the match as a win but, basically, we weren't good enough on the day.

"Argentina are definitely up there with other top teams. They have got some real big big boys and they used their strengths. We saw how good they were in the recent Rugby Championship, where they were unlucky with a few results."

Apart from the paucity of performance against Argentina, Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley must also address a growing injury list.

Prop Adam Jones and flanker Dan Lydiate had already been ruled out of the entire autumn series, but centre Jamie Roberts (concussion) and lock Alun-Wyn Jones (shoulder) could now join them after going off in the Pumas encounter.

Howley, though, will hope that centre Jonathan Davies and back-row forward Ryan Jones, who were both sidelined from facing Argentina, can now be declared fully fit.

Ospreys trio Hibbard, Dan Biggar and Justin Tipuric are among those who can realistically expect to start in four days' time, while Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris could forge the second-row partnership.

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