1st XV Match Preview V Worcester (A) Tue 28/12/2010 



by Joe Heaton

Worcester v Moseley, at Six Ways,  RFU Championship
Tuesday, 28th December, 2010, k.o. 3.00 pm

By common consent,  the away match against the Championship leaders is the most demanding, though not necessarily the most important, match of the season especially when, this year, it is played the day after Christmas Day and all that this implies.

Worcesterís Director of Rugby is Richard Hill, who succeeded Mike Ruddock on a two year contract at the end of last April. The team Captain is Chris Parnell. During the close season eighteen players left the Club (including Australian International Chris Latham) and eleven new players arrived at Sixways. In spite of these changes Hill can put out two fully professional sides, with every player having Premiership experience.

Worcester has the benefit of £2.44m in payments from the Premiership of which £1m is a parachute payment. This enables the club to operate with premiership level salaries for at least a first season in the Championship. This protects players from, what many would argue is justifiable, precipitate dismissal if the team is relegated, but it leads to a fully professional side dominating the Championship, effectively with a return ticket to the Premiership in one season.

In the home match on 2nd October Worcester beat Moseley 18-37. Despite the imbalance in funding, Moseley played very well during the first half and for ten minutes of the second, and established a well deserved 18-16 lead. Worcester then hit by a sequence of three converted tries, which took the final score to 18-37.

The relative positions of the two clubs in the Championship are:

                  P        W        D        L        F        A        BPs        Pts        Pos

Worcester   15        14       0         1       514     253      11         67        1st                                                                                                  

Moseley      15        3         2         10     281     477      2           18        10th

(Worcester leads Bedford at the top of the table by 7 points).

There is no doubt that the Moseley teamís performance has improved in the last two matches than in many previous games, with the result that a win was achieved in Pool C of the B&I Cup against London Welsh and a bonus point gained in the Championship against Bedford, the latter  despite some quite unfathomable, anti Moseley refereeing decisions.

Bevon Armitage has strengthened the Moseley centre in both attack and defence filling one of the gaps in the side which has been evident from the start of the season. This, and a change in the training regime, has helped to return the team more towards the performances displayed at the beginning of the season. Weather permitting Moseley should be supported by an enthusiastic band of travelling supporters. They will go home happy if they see a good committed Moseley performance in an entertaining match and the continuation of the improvement of recent weeks.


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