1st XV Match Preview V Cornish Pirates (a) Fri 04/10/2013 

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Match Preview - by Glyn Barlow

 

This Friday evening the team, and a few hardy supporters, face a long trip to the Mennaye to face a Pirates team riding high from victories over Bristol & Ealing during the last 3 weeks.

 

In contrast Moseley will be looking for a marked improvement in performance from the frankly disappointing encounter with Rotherham last week.

 

Let’s try and get Saturday out of the way first. Following the opening weekend defeat to Titans there was great hope that the team would make amends, particularly in light of the second half fight back in Plymouth. It wasn’t to be. Realistically Rotherham are a good team this season but Moseley conspired to make them look even better.

 

It is in fairness a big ask for a team who only train twice a week to be able to play a perfectly coordinated game from the very start of the season, as they become familiar with new combinations. The difference time together to work on moves and drills makes was there for everyone to see in the performance of the two teams on Saturday.  Unfortunately despite all the attacking ability the team undoubtedly has, it’s worth nothing if the other teams keep scoring more points than you.

 

Having secured a four try bonus point win over Ealing the Pirates will be looking for more attacking opportunities against Moseley. The team will need to be wary of the threat posed by the likes of full back Keiran Goss and the half back partnership of Keiran Hallett and Gavin Cattle. It will also need a full 80+ minute performance from the boys to contain the Pirates, as so far this season they have been particularly adept at scoring in the last 20 minutes of a game.

 

Last season the two teams met twice with Moseley having one draw and one narrow loss to show for their efforts

 

Saturday 3rd November 2012

Moseley

9 – 9

Cornish Pirates

Sunday 10th March 2013

Cornish Pirates

17 – 14

Moseley

 

Moseley will be looking to go one better this week but it cannot be ignored that Pirates have proved very hard to beat with draws a plenty but only one result going Moseley’s way back in 2008.

 

So what can we take down in the Duchy?

 

Despite the scoreline there were positives from the performance against the Titans. Generally the scrum operated more than admirably against a very big Rotherham 8. If the pack can build upon this and resolve the issues they faced in the lineout then they can secure a decent share of possession to use. One of the easiest ways to defend against a team is not to give them the ball in the first place (easier said than done I know).

 

If the team can be precise in all phases of play, right from kick off catches onwards, then they stand a chance of putting the Pirates on the back foot. Ball retention will be key, the back row need to step up another gear to contest the breakdown, with the rest of the pack not far behind. Defence around the fringes of the breakdown must also be addressed to snuff out any attacks before they gain momentum.

 

And what of the backs? Well a key aspect will be to make the first up tackles count plus prevent their opposite numbers having the chance to offload. Quick re-alignment of the defensive lines which then quickly move up on the opposition as one are a priority. If the team can shut down the Pirates attack then they can start to swing the momentum their way by bringing in the cutting edge of their strike players.

 

In the three league games this season we have seen, in all too infrequent glimpses, what the backline can do. The team should be constantly looking to play into positions that allow the back three space to operate in.

 

Let’s hope Friday sees the team take a step towards realising their collective potential.