Match Preview - by Glyn Barlow
And now the Championship season 2012/13 comes to Billesley Common.
This Saturday we see the welcome visit of a Nottingham team fresh from an impressive opening weekend victory over Leeds. Following a hesitant start, which saw Leeds take a 17 point lead, Nottingham turned the game around to win 34 – 29 scoring four tries along the way.
Nottingham Rugby Club traces its history back to 1877, establishing a home at Ireland Avenue Beeston in 1904 where the club remained until 2006. The club is rightly proud of its playing history with internationals such as Dusty Hare, Gary Rees, Rob Andrew, Brian Moore and Simon Hodgkinson playing for the club.
For the 2006/7 season Nottingham moved to Notts County’s Meadow Lane football ground, in a relationship which has proved to be somewhat challenging at times. The rugby team eventually became part of the Notts County PLC in 2010, thus securing its future at Meadow Lane.
Last season Nottingham finished a very creditable 5th in the regular season Championship just one bonus point victory behind eventual champions London Welsh. The club’s stated aim this season will be to make the top four playoffs with a view to eventual promotion to the Premiership..
Moseley and Nottingham met twice last season with the following outcome:
Saturday 10th September Moseley 10 – 20 Nottingham
Sunday 27th November Nottingham 62 – 20 Moseley
Indeed this has been a tough fixture in recent seasons for Moseley and we need to go back to 2007 at Meadow Lane when Moseley last recorded a win, by a 21 – 28.
During the summer Nottingham underwent a number of personnel changes, possibly the most significant being the departure of long time Director of Rugby Glenn Delaney to London Irish, replaced by former Bath forwards coach Martin Haag.
On the playing front Nottingham welcomed back No. 8 Dan Montagu from Bristol joined in the back row by Mansfield's Tom Calladine. Fly half Rory Lynn makes the move from Leicester Tigers Academy. This squad has been further strengthened via the dual registration with Leicester of Jimmy Stevens at hooker, and Ryan Bower at prop.
Nottingham’s pre-season preparations were tinged with sadness due to the tragic death of second row Mitchell Todd in a traffic accident in August. Everyone at Moseley extends their condolences to Mitchell’s family and friends at this sad time.
For Moseley last Saturday was not the opening weekend which had been hoping for. An away trip to Bedford was always going to be a tough game but arguably Moseley contributed at least 21 points to Bedford’s final total through basic errors. An impressive first ten minutes when Moseley pressured the Blues in their 22 unfortunately failed to produce any points.
This seemed to spur a very impressive Bedford side to run at Moseley at every opportunity. And Bedford had plenty of opportunities to do so with perhaps the worst lineout performance by a Moseley team for many a season and a failure to secure ball from kick offs.
A disaster? No just a false start that can be rectified. We need to remember this is the most radically overhauled Moseley team to take to the field in recent seasons and it will take time for everything that works on the training field to click into place on the match day pitch.
You can be sure that Dave Hilton will have been drilling the forwards all week to get the lineout timing right. On a positive note the forwards achieved at least parity in the scrums against a heavier Bedford eight and this should improve further to give the exciting backline a chance to show its attacking strengths. Credit to Craig Voisey and young Ethan Waller who saw their opposite numbers resorting to some dubious activities to ensure they were not sent backwards.
Defence also needs to step up a gear with a lack of intensity, and the error of not putting players down with the first tackle, allowing Bedford to make significant ground. This week we will hopefully see the return of key players Brad Hunt and Greg King into the squad, a factor that is bound to see a greater determination that none shall pass.
This week the Moseley players have the opportunity to get the season back on the right track. Let’s show the team that the Moseley supporters believe in them.
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