Match Preview - by Glyn Barlow
All eyes turn back to the Championship this weekend as Moseley visit Nottingham on Sunday.
The team travel having managed to break the run of games without a win that stretches back to October’s B&I cup game against London Scottish and one should not underestimate the psychological boost this may give a team which must have started to question what they needed to do to realise the undoubted potential they have.
The players themselves would be the first to admit that last week’s win over Gala was probably not in the style that they would like but at the end of the day it’s that “W” in the results column that matters and this was a hard fought win against a determined Borders team. Despite taking the game to Gala in the first half the lack of success in recent weeks, and indeed the lack of tries scored, seemed to weigh heavily on the team who just kept failing to convert pressure to points. Indeed Gala must have been surprised to find themselves going in at the half thirteen points up.
It is again credit to the hard work and commitment of the team that Moseley were able to come back from this deficit to win the game. One of the most significant changes was the tactical play of Glyn Hughes, using the wind advantage, to put pressure on the Gala defence. This was seen to great effect with the build-up to the last minute drop goal that snatched victory.
Other notable contributions came from Billy Robinson who injected real pace every time he got the ball, another positive shift in the front row from young Lewis Woodfield and strong ball carrying from Neil Mason and Ollie Robinson coming off the bench.
One thing is certain about Sunday and that is Nottingham will provide a much sterner test for the team. Currently standing in third place in the league Nottingham will be still smarting from a one point loss to Cornish Pirates in their last Championship fixture having put 57 points past Doncaster and 63 against Bristol in previous weeks.
The two teams have already met this season when Nottingham were victorious at Billesley Common 17 – 28. This match was a game in which Moseley will have felt frustrated to have not taken any points, however the combination of trying to play too wide & loose a game and a somewhat unjust red card conspired to deny them.
During the intervening period Nottingham have further strengthened their squad with the signing of South African hooker Shaun Malton a former young Springbok and Sharks player.
For Moseley to succeed on Sunday their defence needs to be perfect. While they have defended like their lives depend on it close to the line they need to ensure they close down Nottingham attacks from anywhere on the field as soon as possible, otherwise the likes of back row Brent Wilson and winger Rhys Crane, current joint top try scorers in the league, will reap rewards.
The team needs to play to their relative strengths in attack and players like Charlie Hayter need to find ways of creating spaces to bring their back three into the game more. The pack also needs to recognise when not to try to muscle the opposition out of the game in close quarters, particularly faced with larger opposition, and to deliver quick ball. Last week too much ball was lost in contact, it is imperative players going into the tackle retain the ball. Support players also need to ensure that the ball in rucks is sealed off effectively otherwise the scrum half is going to have a torrid time.
This is a game where Moseley need to start believing in themselves again and take every opportunity to attack. We have seen examples of what the team is capable of over the last few weeks, now it’s time for them to put it all together and deliver a much needed result.
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