Williams a worry for Samoa
PA Sport
September 19, 2007

Goalkicker Gavin Williams is a major doubt for Samoa's World Cup clash against England in Nantes on Saturday.

Williams is struggling with a finger injury, and Samoa team manager Kenape Tu'uau admitted: ``I don't think he will be ready for Saturday.''

Samoa's World Cup campaign has been blighted by repeated injury setbacks, and the potential loss of Williams - a full-back or centre - would hit them hard.

Tu'uau added: ``We are just monitoring Gavin for the next day or two.

``His middle finger was showing signs of a fracture, but he has got very good movement in his hand. He has had X-rays and the specialists are working on it.

``We will have to see how he feels. Things are still open until tomorrow when we announce the team, and we hope he will recover quickly.''

England prop Andrew Sheridan, meanwhile, will be at the heart of England's push for scrummaging supremacy against Samoa.

England's display in the critical set-piece area was the one bright spot during their record 36-0 World Cup loss to South Africa at Stade de France last Friday.

Sale Sharks loosehead Sheridan said: ``I am sure, as you know with the Samoans, it is bound to be physical. I am looking forward to another big challenge.

``We were very pleased with the scrum against South Africa.

``We managed to get three turnovers against South Africa, but that's something we need to take into our next game and just be happy with the way things went against South Africa, otherwise things can become a bit complacent in one area when you're trying to concentrate on another.

``We will have to wait and see how it pans out on Saturday.

``I always find if you start talking it up in terms of scrummaging, it always comes back and bites you somewhere.

``Just because of previous games and how they have faired in the scrum before, we will be taking it no less lightly than any other team.''

The game could develop into an explosive contest given what is at stake as both sides battle for a quarter-final slot.

The last time they met almost two years ago at Twickenham, England flanker Lewis Moody and Samoa wing Alesana Tuilagi - Leicester team-mates - were sent off for fighting.

Sheridan added: ``Discipline is always an area that the coaches stress, and as players we know how to keep our discipline.

``We cannot afford to lose people with yellow cards and all that business.

``The Samoa players are all just big, powerful athletes who are ideally suited to play rugby. It's their whole temperament and physical make-up that suits the game.

``There has obviously been quite a bit of talk about tactics. We don't want to give them the ball and let some of their big runners have a 30-yard run-up.

``So we need to close down their space. As I said, all of their guys seem to be able to run extremely well with the ball and they can be dangerous in open play, so we want to keep the ball away from them.''

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