Wales rugby tour: Samoan welcome rhymes with friendship

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The Wales management team met His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi
Test match: Samoa v Wales
Venue: Apia Park, Apia Date: 23 June Kick-off: 07:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales and online. Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales MW and online, Radio Cymru online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV (UK only).

Samoa head of state Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi is a fan of Welsh rugby. He is also a fan Dylan Thomas.

Which is why a delegation of Wales's rugby players heard the words of the poet being quoted to them when they were given a state welcome in Apia.

Wales face Samoa in the island's capital on Friday - the 10th meeting between the countries in a relationship which goes back to 1986.

It's one His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi was keen to acknowledge - while invoking the spirit of one of Thomas' most famous works.

"I'm a great fan of Dylan Thomas," he said before quoting 'Do not go gentle into that good night… rage, rage against the dying light.'

For the Wales team there is a message there in Thomas' powerful poem - an invocation to fight and be bold. Qualities needed on Friday.

Qualities that run deep within the Samoan rugby team who have a rich history with Wales - and have enjoyed their share of success against the men in red.

"The Welsh have been very kind to us when we were struggling to get recognition from the bigger unions," he added.

"They were the first to come and tour and play here in Samoa.

"It meant so much that they came from so far away and were giving up their time. They've been very good to us."

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WRU members go on a community visit in Apia ahead of their match against Samoa

Wales came away from Apia on that day in 1986 with a 32-14 victory, but Samoa have since inflicted defeat time and again on the men in red.

They have won four of the nine matches between the two sides including famous World Cup wins in Cardiff in 1991 and 1999, as well as comfortable 34-9 victory at home in Apia the last time Wales toured the Pacific Islands in 1994.

Despite their feats on the international stage - securing wins against not only Wales but, Italy, Scotland, Ireland and Argentina too - Samoa have struggled for recognition and fixtures, especially at home.

England and France though will tour the Pacific Islands as part of a new global calendar from 2020 with World Rugby aiming to increase the number of matches between Tier One and Tier Two countries.

Samoan wins against ether of those teams is not impossible. Winning against Wales on Friday as history shows is very possible.

"Do not go gentle into that good night,"

Wales have been warned.

Wales v Samoa - the complete story
June 14, 1986 — Western Samoa 14-32 Wales (Apia Park, Apia)
November 12, 1988 — Wales 28-6 Western Samoa (National Stadium, Cardiff)
October 6, 1991 — Wales 13-16 Western Samoa (National Stadium, Cardiff)
June 25, 1994 — Western Samoa 34-9 Wales (Moama, Apia)
October 14, 1999 — Wales 31-38 Samoa (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff)
November 11, 2000 — Wales 50-6 Samoa (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff)
November 13, 2009 — Wales 17-13 Samoa (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff)
September 18, 2011 — Wales 17-10 Samoa (Hamilton, Rugby World Cup)
November 16, 2012 — Wales 19-26 Samoa (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff)

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