Match Preview by Glyn Barlow
This week sees a change from the intense programme of Championship and B&I cup fixtures with a friendly match scheduled against Premiership outfit Northampton, and it could prove to be just the fixture Moseley need at this point in time.
With the pressure of gaining league points off the team they can concentrate on fixing the areas of their play that has not been firing on all cylinders in recent weeks, particularly in getting the undoubtedly talented backline scoring tries again.
In pre-season the two teams met at Franklin Gardens in an entertaining match which Northampton won 35 – 22. Moseley managed three tries on that day, courtesy of Ollie Thomas, Antony Carter and Ben Pienaar, a rare enough occasion this season. Interestingly the Northampton squad that day included Tom Hicks, Danny Herriott and Ryan Glynn who have all featured as D/R players for Moseley this season.
Saturday should also hopefully see the home Debut of new signing, 27 Welsh cap, Ben Evans at Tight Head Prop. By all accounts Evans signalled his presence in red and black last week at Nottingham with a dominant performance in the front row, and could just be one of Kevin Maggs shrewdest moves of the season so far.
Last weekend, while unfortunately yielding no Championship points, did herald a significant improvement in the performance of the team. To go to second placed Nottingham, a team who beat them at Meadow lane last season by a 62 – 20 score line and to push them all the way only falling by a nine point margin is a sign that the team is improving. This game and the win over Gala the previous week will give confidence to the squad to use the Northampton game to build momentum for the all-important visit of Jersey on the 5th January.
Saturday should see a focus on two key aspects of Moseley’s game. Firstly further development of the forward play seen at Nottingham. Here the experience Ben Evans can impart on the young pack around him will be crucial. While we cannot fault the effort put in by the forwards all season there has been a lack of experience as to what when to exploit the forwards momentum and when to get the ball to the back line. Experienced heads like Evans plus Neil Mason and Adam Caves need to be to the fore to lead by example and also verbally control the packs actions.
The other aspect of improvement will be to kick start the backs try scoring exploits. As Glyn Hughes starts to find his ability to control the game, and exploit territorial advantages, we need to see the outside backs causing problems for the opposition defence. Let us hope that against Northampton Moseley can get the ball into the hands of back three players like Simon Hunt and Billy Robinson with room to create one on one opportunities. Too often the ball has hit the wingers out wide with no space to operate, more straight line running and bringing runners in off angles may profit the team.
You can be sure Nottingham will be bringing a team to Billesley that will be highly competitive and a stern test for Moseley. We should be in for a very entertaining game to see out 2012 and set us all up for an exciting 2013 following Moseley.
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