1st XV Match Preview V Plymouth Albion (a) Fri 20/09/2013 

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Match Preview by Glyn Barlow

 

Following last weeks “home” game at Doncaster Moseley play their first away match this Friday when they travel to Plymouth.

 

For Moseley this is an opportunity to get the season back on track after the spectacular derailment at Castle Park. While poor opening weekend results have unfortunately become too familiar at Moseley in recent seasons nobody travelling to Doncaster last Saturday was prepared for what ensued.

 

Taking nothing away from the new look Rotherham who played very well, but rarely do so many things fail to fire in one game. Coaches Kevin Maggs and Dave Hilton may have wondered where on earth they start when discussing (if that’s not too polite a word) it at training.

 

Some supporters are already predicting gloom and doom but it’s important to remember this is the only the first game of the season. OK Moseley weren’t at the races on Saturday (although some travelling fans may have wished they had been at the St Ledger next door) but there was nothing about the performance that cannot be fixed.

 

Probably the biggest issue was that the intensity was missing from Moseley’s performance. It’s hard to say why the team failed to match Rotherham’s hunger, perhaps the pre-season games against Hartpury and what was in effect a Northampton Academy didn’t give the team enough of a test to raise them up to Championship level. Perhaps they just didn’t expect Rotherham to play this way.

 

Certainly discipline hurt the team; it’s impossible to give away so many penalties and play for a quarter of a game with 14 men and expect to succeed. Players need to re-find the balance between competing for the ball and stepping over the line.

 

Positives can be taken. Moseley scored two excellent tries through Matt Williams and Simon Hunt showing what this backline can do if they get good quality ball. Williams and Scott Armstrong were also heroic in tracking back to defend.

 

This week Moseley need to get their defence right from the outset. The centre paring need to work in harmony to ensure they block the middle channel, kicking needs to be accurate and purposeful, the back row need to control the fringes of the breakdown and the pack as a whole needs to go up the gears and win ball.

 

There is no doubt that Plymouth, with confidence building from their 41 – 27 victory over Jersey, will believe they can make it two from two.

 

Last season, by the slimmest of margins, both teams won their away fixtures:

 

Sat 22/09/2012

Moseley

22 - 24

Plymouth Albion

Sat 26/01/2013

Plymouth Albion

6 – 9

Moseley

 

Let’s hope history repeats itself on Friday

 

Having finished 2012/13 one place above Moseley Albion will be looking to repeat last season’s opening form which saw them win four of their first five matches.

 

During the summer Albion have strengthened their squad by the addition of a number of players including Prop Matt Shields from Nottingham, Winger Jamie Davies from Cardiff RFC, Dan Mugford at fly half from London Scottish, hooker Gareth Evans from London Welsh, centre Pale Nonu (brother of All Black Ma’a) from Rotherham and Number 8 Rhys Oakley from Northampton Saints.

 

Plymouth may have lost last season’s top try scorer Sam Hocking to Ealing along with prolific crossers of the try line Canadian international Aaron Carpenter to Cornish Pirates and Rhodri McAtee to Redruth but we can still expect winger Tom Bowen to be a threat out wide.

 

Notable players Moseley need to contain include Canadian internationals lock Brett Beukeboom and back row Sean-Michael Stephen and long term Albion player Ruairi Cushion at scrum half.

 

A trip to Brickfields is never an easy prospect but more than ever this is one where Moseley need to perform to their undoubted abilities and secure a win to redirect the season upwards.