1st XV Match Preview V Cornish Pirates (h) Sat 03/11/2012 

Match Preview by Glyn Barlow

 

Watch out for the Fireworks!

 

You can be sure that following last week’s defeat at Doncaster coaches Maggs & Hilton will be putting a rocket up the team to ensure that we don’t see a repeat of the slow start witnessed yet again at Castle Park.

 

Off the back of two good wins in the B&I cup players and supporters will have travelled to Doncaster with some optimism, unfortunately it proved misplaced as the Knights raced to an eighteen point lead in the first half. As in previous weeks Moseley put in a good second shift, outscoring their opponents by ten points, but it was a case of too little, too late. To add insult to injury Moseley conceded a penalty in the last ten minutes which allowed Doncaster to deny them even a losing bonus point.

 

Our opponents this week, Cornish Pirates fared much better in the restart of Championship activities, with a comprehensive 21 – 8 victory over Leeds. The weekend’s results now see Moseley one point above Doncaster and six points away from next placed Pirates, Bristol and London Scottish all on fifteen. With only nine points separating Moseley from fourth place in the league this is certainly turning out to be a very competitive season for all.

 

For Pirates the season has not, so far, lived up to previous seasons with wins against Plymouth, Jersey and Leeds being offset with loses to London Scottish, Bristol & Newcastle and a draw against Moseley’s opponents from last week, Doncaster.

 

During the summer months the Pirates have undergone a number of changes in their squad including the introduction of Lock Darren Barry from Bristol, centre Tom Bedford from Newcastle, Ben Prescott a Scottish U18 prop from Northampton, fly half Keiran Hallett from Bedford and Welsh 7s centre Tom Riley from Newport Gwent Dragons. Centre Junior Fatialofa also returned to the Pirates following a spell with Bristol.

 

Significant movements of senior players the other way has seen Full Back Rob Cook signing for Gloucester with hooker Dave Ward moving to Harlequins, both having made 100 appearances for the Pirates. Second row Ian Nimmo, a member of the 2012 Championship Dream Team along with Ward and Cook, left for Newport Gwent Dragons and eight season winger Rhodri McAtee went north to Leeds. Such experience is always going to be difficult to replace.

 

A couple of faces well known at Billesley will be David Lyons who decided this season to move to Cornwall and number 8 Ben Maidment who made six appearances for Moseley in 2011. In return Ollie Thomas will be looking to put one over the team he played for during 2008/9.

 

The Cornish Pirates trace their roots back to the inception of both Penzance RFC in 1876 and Newlyn RFC in 1894. Despite a highly competitive rivalry in the early years the two clubs came together in 1945 to form Penzance and Newlyn RFC, playing at the Mennaye Field.

 

During the 1990’s local businessman Dicky Evans became involved in a bid to move the club from the South West leagues to the highest levels of Rugby in England. Five promotions in eight seasons saw the team enter the, then, National League One where they have remained ever since. In 2005 the club changed its name to the Cornish Pirates. During the last two seasons the Pirates have been losing finalists in the Championship playoffs and won the British & Irish Cup in 2010.

 

Last season Moseley and the Pirates met twice, with one draw and one loss for Moseley:

 

Sat 3rd Sept 2011

Moseley

27 – 27

Cornish Pirates

Sat 25th Feb 2012

Cornish Pirates

32 – 17

Moseley

 

If Moseley are to take anything from last week’s game it is that they cannot let the opposition take an early initiative. The team has proved during the second half that they can put their opposition under pressure and score points. They need to take this intensity onto the field from the outset, rather than reacting to the situation that has occurred.

 

The focus in the early stages of the game will surely be on closing down the Pirates who so far this season have been most adept at scoring during the second quarter of play. Particular attention will need to be placed on flying Canadian International winger/full back Matt Evans who leads the Championship try scoring table with seven to date, 60% of the team’s total.

 

Moseley will need to work hard up front to nullify a powerful Pirates pack, and deliver an opportunity for the backs to try to break down a Pirates defence which has proved to be one of the meanest this season with only Newcastle and Nottingham having conceded less. The likes of Charlie Hayter and Simon Hunt will need to be on top form, and the possible return of Greg King to the centre will allow a more balanced look to the back line.

 

Let’s hope Moseley hit the pitch with a bang and light up the afternoon skies over the Common!