Northampton v Moseley
by Glyn Barlow
Thursday 23rd August
7.30pm KO @ Franklin Gardens
This Thursday’s match will be a very interesting one for the Moseley players as it will pit them against Premiership opposition. This challenge is heightened when the team being faced is one which finished fourth in the league last season, narrowly losing the semi-finals against the eventual champions Harlequins, and which made the final of the LV Cup,.
The two teams last met when Northampton played a season in National Division 1 during 2007/8 following relegation from the Premiership. Having retained the majority of the squad from the previous season, the Saints proved too strong for all the teams in the lower division. While the initial game at Franklin Gardens proved to be something of a shock to Moseley with a substantial defeat, the return fixture at Billesley Common may have been an equal shock to Northampton. In a Christmas fixture, Moseley ran the unbeaten league leaders extremely close eventually being squeezed out 27 – 18. Northampton only went into the lead with a try in the 70th minute and a last minute penalty denied the home team of even a deserved point.
This season an already strong Saints squad featuring the likes of England players Ben Foden, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood has been boosted by 6’ 5” New Zealander James Wilson in the centre, England Saxons player Domonic Waldouck, Samoan international Ken Pisi and Blue Bulls back Row Gerrit-Jan van Velze. Another familiar face to Moseley supporters is Ross McMillan who made 26 appearances for Moseley in 2007/8, including both games against Northampton.
With another tough game against Edinburgh the next day it will be interesting to see what team the Saints coaches put out on Thursday. Due to Moseley’s dual registration agreement with Northampton a number of prospective Moseley 2012/13 players may be on show, but on whose side?
For the Saints the pre-season has started reasonably well with a narrow loss to Zebre in Italy being more than compensated by a 43 – 0 trouncing of Leinster. With 11 tries scored in two games the Saints are clearly looking to develop their attacking abilities.
For Moseley last weekend’s convincing win 45 – 21 will have vindicated Kevin Maggs’ belief in recruiting players who want to play together for the club as there are already clear signs of a strong teamwork ethic developing. The pack, very much a new and untried unit, showed improved technical abilities in the tight coupled with good mobility in support. This bodes well for the Moseley backline which exhibited pace and a willingness to attack. In addition Moseley played a very good tactical game, kicking for position into Aberavon’s half to launch attacking moves. Coupled with an impressive group of goal kickers this is a team that can and will score points.
As this will be the last game before the season proper starts at Bedford you can be sure every player will want to convince Kevin Maggs and Dave Hilton that they should be in the starting line up on the 1st September.
With both sides in good try scoring form this should be a very open and entertaining game.
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