Samoa’s frailties do not extend to their physical make-up or attitude and England’s comparatively small backline are planning to avoid a man-on-man confrontation for their own well-being.
“We know they are a physical team. They have physical players who are direct with the ball and in defence they are looking for that big hit. We have to make sure we are smart in terms of not giving them the opportunity to hit us,” said England’s Alex Lozowski, who is set to wear the No12 jersey.
“On the flip side of that, defensively, we know what is coming in that physical threat. If I am selected this weekend I will be fully aware of what will be coming my way.”
Lozowski packs a fair punch himself in defence but, at 14st 6lbs, is one of the more slight midfielders around as was shown when he ran into Toulon monster Mathieu Bastareaud in Saracens colours in January.
“I managed to get cut in half by Bastareaud which I remember for all the wrong reasons,” he said.
“I didn’t see him coming at all so I was more relaxed and it didn’t hurt. It is worse when you see them coming and tense. That is how you end up getting hurt.”
England will send an experimental side out against the Pacific Islanders with Sam Simmonds set for his first Test start at No8.
Coach Eddie Jones hopes the anticipated changes will counter the threat of complacency against a side they have never lost against.
“Complacency is always sitting next to you. We have to be absolutely diligent about ensuring we do everything right this week, that we prepare well, the players’ minds are on what is important which is the match against Samoa,” said Jones.
“You can never underestimate the quality of an Island side. They’ve got this unique collection of physicality and athleticism so you can never take them for granted.
“We’re treating this as a very important Test. We need to be at our absolute best. And it’s our last chance to play at Twickenham this year which is important.”
Source : EXPRESS