Wales were still suffering yesterday from the damage caused in their opening autumn series encounter against Argentina in Cardiff. Three days on from the blow of the 26-12 defeat inflicted by Santiago Phelan's Pumas, the 2012 Six Nations Grand Slammers were hit by the withdrawal of lock Alun Wyn Jones and flanker Josh Turnbull from their three remaining fixtures at the Millennium Stadium: against Samoa on Friday, the All Blacks on 24 November and Australia on 1 December.
Both players were hurt during the first half of a contest in which the Welsh never truly got out of the starting blocks – Jones damaging a shoulder and Turnbull knee ligaments. Wales were already without the services of prop Adam Jones and flanker Dan Lydiate for the entire series but, on the plus side, centre Ashley Beck and flanker Ryan Jones are on course to return against Samoa. Centre Jamie Roberts is continuing to be assessed for mild concussion but could play on Friday. His midfield partner Jonathan Davies, however, is still unable to train because of a groin injury.
Samoa have a history of inflicting woe on Wales sides – stretching back to their World Cup win as Western Samoa in Cardiff in 1991 – but their coach Stephen Betham is expecting a backlash from Rob Howley's side in the wake of the Argentina defeat. "You cannot judge a team on one performance," Betham said. "We know just how well they have played in the past year.
"Their game was pretty flat and I'm sure they will be coming out firing this week, so we will have to be on our toes to bear the brunt of that. We expected Wales to come out on top but Argentina showed if you are ready and if you really want it, it's anyone's game on the day.
"We do not see this as being able to take any advantage of a Welsh wobble. We see it more as Wales not letting their guard down any more and I am sure they learnt quite a bit over the weekend. We know we are in for a game."
Scotland will have to make at least one change for their game against the Springboks at Murrayfield on Sunday. Flanker Ross Rennie is out for the rest of the autumn with a dislocated shoulder suffered in the 51-22 defeat to the All Blacks on Sunday. Dave Denton or John Barclay could fill the openside breach.