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1st XV Match Preview V Swansea (Home) Sat 15/01/2011 

BIG MATCH PREVIEW

by Joe Heaton


Moseley v Swansea  - B&I Cup Round 3 at Billesley Common

Saturday, January 15, 3.00pm.
 


 

Before the advent of Premiership rugby in 1987-88 the visit of Swansea to Moseley’s old Reddings ground was one of the highlights of the season, for the Welsh club was invariably one of the top teams in the Principality. All the Welshmen in Birmingham seemed to turn out for these fixtures which created a terrific atmosphere at the ground.

Our two clubs had played against each other often for most of the 20th century, although the first “modern” home/away arrangement was on the 10th September 1977, which Moseley won 13 - 6. This series continued with Swansea winning a slight majority of the matches until the advent of the National Leagues in England,

After the advent of professionalism in the later 1990’s, Swansea, together with Neath, created a new separate professional regional side termed ‘Ospreys’ while both the original clubs remained as amateur/semi-professional sides, playing in the Principality Building Society Premiership (Welsh Premier Division). 

The Ospreys compete in the pan European Magners professional league, involving clubs from Italy, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as well as the Heineken Cup. Both Neath and Swansea, as 50% owners of Ospreys, may call upon eleven Osprey players if available. It is this latter team that Moseley will be playing this Saturday afternoon in the 3rd round of the B&I Cup.

Swansea at present stands fourth in the Welsh Premiership with a playing record as follows:

P       W        D       L       F       A       BP     Pts         Pos

15      9        1        5      502    283    15      53          4th

Last Saturday the club lost away from home:

Cross Keyes 21 Swansea 6

Moseley’s arduous sequence of matches against the top six teams in the Premiership came to an end last Saturday with another defeat, 48-12, by London Welsh at Old Deer Park although most neutral observers have remarked that the scoreline may have flattered the Welsh somewhat.

It is no secret that the B&I Cup is not Moseley’s priority this season and the next two games should provide some excellent rugby against good sides but in a less stressful environment. These cup matches will provide the opportunity to agree on a settled side, having given most players in the squad an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities.

After playing Swansea and then Neath at home,  Moseley will then meet Birmingham/Solihull, again at Billesley, on 29th January, before the Championship run in against Plymouth, Rotherham, and finally Esher away on 19th February.

All the recent work the players have been doing with the coaches to develop the ability to put width on the ball and relax in both attack and defence, must surely soon pay dividends.  There is certainly the talent and capability within the squad and as experience is gained by our younger players especially in their decision making, performances overall will improve. The players have shown their ability to match all their Championship opponents in midfield. It is inside five metres at both ends that the challenges are evident.

The most welcome restoration of this traditional fixture against our friends from Swansea on Saturday will provide an opportunity to hone those skills in what will undoubtedly be an entertaining and competitive encounter.

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