Match Preview by Glyn Barlow
While the Olympics may have provided some form of sporting relief from the withdrawal symptoms we have all experienced there is no substitute to the real thing. At last we get to see some rugby at Billesley with the 1st XV playing hosts to our visitors from South Wales, Aberavon and for the majority of the Moseley Faithful this game will provide the first opportunity to see Moseley vintage 2012/13 in action. And what an exciting opportunity it should prove to be.
Following Kevin Maggs’ very active summer there will be a number of new Moseley players on show (to help you out with this please go to the players profile page of the 1st XV section of the club website for this seasons new player photographs http://www.moseleyrugby.co.uk/players_profiles.php?team_id=12 ). With probably the most exciting backline Moseley has had in a number of seasons and a pack being forged by Scottish legend Dave Hilton it promises to be a season very different from the previous one.
Last week Moseley travelled to Bedwas and took many positives from an entertaining game which featured wholesale changes of personnel by both teams throughout. While it would therefore be misleading to draw conclusions from the scoreline itself, to visit Wales and come away with six tries is never something to be underestimated. That all the tries were scored by backs seemed to underline Kevin Maggs’ attacking philosophy.
Pre-season matches provide the ideal opportunity for teams to identify these areas requiring particular attention and work on them prior to the challenges of the league campaign. During the week the players will have been working on line-outs and scrummages and on their defensive lines as new combinations get used to working together.
Saturday brings a welcome return fixture against our friends from Aberavon following our visit last season to the Wizards Talbot Athletic Ground. A club with a great history in Welsh rugby Aberavon has, like Moseley, produced a number of Internationals and British Lions perhaps the best known being the 24 cap Welsh second row Allan Martin. The club has been part of the Premiership league since its inception in 2003 and has continued to be a breeding ground for international players being able to claim recent Welsh internationals such as Ryan Bevington and Justin Tipuric as past Aberavon players.
Last season Aberavon finished third in the Principality Premiership wining an impressive 19 out of 26 games played. Despite this, during the close season, some exciting signings have been made to bolster the squad. Wales 7s player Stefan Andrews, who finished second in the premiership try scoring table, joins from Tonmawr. Former Swansea prop Andrew Clatworthy, a Wales U21 international, and Wales U20 back row Ben Thomas from Bridgend and Ieuan Davies from Cardiff bolster the pack.
Aberavon’s first pre-season game last week resulted in a hard fought 19 – 5 win over Division One West Champions Tata Steel.
One thing is for sure, with Moseley’s desire to play attacking rugby and the visit of a team which averaged three tries a game last season we should be in for an exciting spectacle on Saturday.
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