Wales head to the Waikato Stadium knowing they need to beat old foes to keep alive their hopes of reaching the last eight.
And having come unstuck against Samoa in 1991 and 1999, James knows Wales need to meet the physical threat head-on.
"We know they are going to come hard and that we are going to have to match them," said James.
"It all starts up front. Samoa are a big, physical bunch and we are going to have to try to control that area of the game from the start.
"Hopefully then we can open up some space for our backs. It's going to be a tough day.
"As a bunch of forwards, we have to get our heads switched on again and be ready for the physical battle. We need to bring our top game with us this weekend."
Having lost to South Africa Wales are now facing what amounts to a knockout game, but James insists that does not change the mindset of the squad.
"If we lose we will more than likely be out of the tournament," he added. "But we've trained hard everyone is switched on ready to go.
"We are aiming to win every game, and we just have to make sure we are focusing on our own roles, know what we are doing and go into this game confident.
"We were very happy with the way we went against South Africa.
"There was a lot of talk before the game about the South African forwards being stronger than ours, but as a pack we did well against them."
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