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19 June 2017, 14:26
Wales scrum-half Aled Davies is ready to put his end-of-season frustration with the Scarlets behind him when he takes on Samoa on Friday.
Davies failed to make the Scarlets' squad for their Guinness PRO12 final win over Munster, but made his international debut as a replacement in the 24-6 victory over Tonga in Auckland.
Gareth Davies' controversial call-up to the British & Irish Lions squad means his namesake Aled is set to start a Test for the first time in Apia.
He said: "I played a big part in a lot of the games for the Scarlets throughout the season and even though I think I should have been playing more, that's just the way it is.
"The success we had has given the boys a lift and I think the way we played our rugby has helped with the confidence in this Wales squad.
"Samoa are one of the most physical sides in world rugby. They won't be messing around when we play them, so we're going to have to be right on the money if we want to win.
"We're going to have to play smart rugby, manipulate their defence and move them around the field. Hopefully that will tire them out.''
Aled Davies was one of nine players who made their Wales debuts against Tonga. Head coach Robin McBryde has seen Gareth Davies, Cory Hill, Tomas Francis and Kristian Dacey join Warren Gatland's Lions, while Alex Cuthbert has been ruled out of facing Samoa with a shoulder injury.
McBryde has opted against adding to his squad and will blood more fresh faces on Friday in a bid to prepare Wales' next generation of talent for the 2019 World Cup.
"As a half-back in international rugby you can't afford to kick loosely to any side these days. There are so many dangerous players around, and it's the same with Samoa,'' Aled Davies said.
"If we do that, they'll punish us and that's why our core skills need to be accurate. This is a great squad to be involved in with a lot of young, exciting players.
"We play at our best when we play heads-up rugby. That's what I'm trying to do - as well as bossing the forwards about - and if I do that hopefully I can challenge for a starting spot for the Samoa game."
Aled Davies is set to go head-to-head with Samoan skipper Kahn Fotuali'i in Apia. The Pacific Islanders were hammered 78-0 by the All Blacks, but hope to be a different prospect on home soil.
Former Ospreys star Fotuali'i said: ``The New Zealand game was tough, but it won't impact our confidence. The first half was pretty positive and we need to build on that.
"The young players with Wales all deserve to be there and they have a good coaching staff and set-up. They're going to be tough to face, but hopefully they won't enjoy the hot conditions here."