1st XV Match Preview V London Scottish (a) Sat 20/10/2012 

Match Preview by Glyn Barlow

 

Following the visit of the Welsh last Saturday Moseley now make a trip to the Scottish, admittedly Scotland of a Richmond variety, in the second round of the B&I Cup.

 

This Saturday London Scottish will be looking to put aside last weeks B&I Cup defeat in Gala, while Moseley will be hoping to build upon the impressive 36 – 26 victory over Llanelli.

 

London Scottish made an impressive home start to this season having won three of the four Championship games played at the Athletic Ground. To date full back/winger and main goal kicker James Love, a close season signing from Plymouth Albion, has proved to be very adept at punishing transgressions while flank forward Mark Bright has shown he knows where to find the try line.

 

Following a first season in the Championship, which saw Scottish finish just two points above Esher in the relegation play offs, the club has undergone some significant changes in playing personnel, a few who will be familiar to Moseley supporters.  In addition to Andy Reay, Chevvy Pennycook, Paul Spivey and Colin Quigley another notable addition to the team came in the large shape of Prop Mark Irish, a long-time fixture in the Bristol team. Scottish team content is also bolstered by Scotland 7s international Jim Thompson and 23 cap international fly half Phil Godman signing from Edinburgh along with winger Dave McColl from Rotherham.

 

 A dual registration agreement with Harlequins will also enable young prospects such as Sam Twomey (second row), Joe Trayfoot (flanker), Harry Allen (hooker) and Miles Mantella (wing) to be made available for matches.

 

London Scottish came into being in 1878 in Blackheath. Following a brief period at a number of grounds including Old Deer Park the club settled in the Athletic Ground in 1894, a location it shares with Richmond. Since then Scottish has gone on to produce some 220 internationals including four who also lead the British Lions, the last, while a player at Scottish, being Mike Campbell-Lamerton in 1966.

 

At the advent of the professional era in the late 1990’s Scottish started league rugby in the Premiership. Unfortunately the team only lasted one season before being forced into administration, re-joining the leagues nine levels lower as an amateur club. A hard fought recovery up the leagues culminated in a last day of the season promotion battle with Barking, securing victory by a last gasp interception try.

 

Moseley and London Scottish met each other four times during the 2011/12 season with the following results:

 

Sunday 2nd Nov

London Scottish

37 – 21

Moseley

Monday 26th Dec

Moseley

16 – 29

London Scottish

Sunday 18th Mar

London Scottish

23 – 20

Moseley

Sat 14th Apr

Moseley

26 – 20

London Scottish

 

The two regular season games were Moseley’s worst games of last season and the players will be keen to make amends for that, even if this is the B&I Cup and different combinations are being tried. On the basis of performances to date the new look Moseley squad will be taking a more attacking style of play to Richmond on Saturday.  The contrast in the team is best seen in the fact that only three forwards in the 22 for the last visit of Scottish in April remain at the club.

 

And it is this re-vitalisation of the forwards that has grabbed the headlines in recent weeks. While everyone pre-season was getting excited about the prospects of Moseley’s exciting backline it has been the work rate and endeavours of the new forwards that has impressed most. One only had to look to how the front row of Stefan Thorpe, Sam Wilkes and Chaz Meddick (with a little help from Messer’s Hilton and Caves in the latter stages), having not played a competitive game together, out scrummaged the Llanelli tight forwards. Even though three of the Llanelli props were under twenty, this was still a confidence boosting performance. Added to this we again saw another excellent performance from Buster Lawrence which defied his young years, coupled with impressive ball carrying from Ollie Robinson and Ben Pienaar.

 

There are certainly areas Moseley will be looking to improve upon this week. In the second twenty minutes of the first half Llanelli got back into the game, with perhaps too many player standing off the rucks and mauls leading to ball retention being compromised. The back row needs to be as dynamic in defence as it was in attack.

 

If fit, Charlie Hayter will probably be keen to take to the field against the side he played eleven times for while on loan from Worcester. Competition for places in the back three will be very interesting with Billy Robinson putting in one of the best attacking performances from full back we have seen at Billesley Common. Add Simon Hunt and Anders Mogenson to the mix and Ollie Thomas once again proving last week that he just cannot be ignored and Kevin Maggs has a pleasant dilemma in this area.

 

The B&I cup cannot take precedence over the Championship but this week will provide another opportunity to test different combinations, give all the squad playing time and generate further belief in the players’ abilities. Perhaps Moseley’s new boys will also show the old boys what they are missing.