Simon Mail previews the latest World Cup action, with Russia playing their second match in the space of four days against Samoa...
"Head coach Lyn Jones has opted to name exactly the same team for this match and Russia will have it all to do after being given a short turnaround of just four days from their opening defeat."
Russia v Samoa
Live on ITV 4
Tired Russia could be exposed
Russia scored the first points of this year's World Cup but were predictably beaten by hosts Japan. Kirill Golosnitskiy gave the Bears a surprise early lead in Friday's opener in Tokyo but a hat-trick from Kotaro Matsushima helped Japan clinch a 30-10 win. Russia certainly competed well and were only five points behind at half-time.
Head coach Lyn Jones has opted to name exactly the same team for this match and Russia will have it all to do after being given a short turnaround of just four days from their opening defeat. He has placed his faith in the same players after a spirited showing against Japan although this could be costly, in terms of fatigue, as the match progresses.
Samoa aiming to make explosive start
Samoa begin their campaign in Kumagaya and Scotland's dismal defeat to Ireland will have enhanced their belief they can compete with Japan for qualification for the quarter-finals. Ed Fidow makes his World Cup debut and the prolific wing has made an immediate impact at international level after scoring eight tries in his first eight appearances for Samoa.
The two-time quarter-finalists come into the tournament off the back of three successive defeats including a 34-15 loss to Australia in their last match. Fly-half Tusi Pisi will become the oldest Samoan to play at a World Cup at the age of 37. He will lead a powerful backline including New Zealand-born full-back Tim Nanai-Williams.
This will be the first meeting between the teams but it is seen as a forgone conclusion with Samoa 30-point favourites. Russia are likely to tire as the match goes on but a bright start may be enough to see them succeed with a big handicap advantage. Samoa have failed to cover a 30-point handicap margin in their last eight games, which included victories against Germany and Spain, suggesting the favourites could be worth taking on.
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