Match Preview - by Glyn Barlow
This weekend all eyes turn across the sea as Leinster A make a welcome first visit to Billesley Common.
One of the positive aspects of the British & Irish Cup is that it throws out fixtures against new opposition, and for Moseley this game provides just the stern challenge needed against the A squad of last season’s Pro12 champions.
The province of Leinster has a proud rugby tradition. Winners of an impressive three Heineken Cups in four seasons the region traces its history back to 1875 and the first inter-provisional games in Ireland. Famous clubs that form part of the Leinster province include Lansdowne, Old Belvedere, Blackrock College, and Old Wesley who all contribute players to the A team games.
Leinster arrive off the back of an impressive opening B&I cup win over Ealing 49 – 8. In that game the men from Donnybrook scored 7 tries to underline an attacking intent which will require Moseley to step up a gear or three to repel.
Instrumental in their performance was fly half Cathal Marsh, a product of St Mary’s College, via a faultless kicking performance coupled with a commanding orchestration of the Leinster midfield.
It was by no means a one man show though and Moseley will have to counter a potent pack of forwards along with the threat posed by the likes of winger Sam Coghlan Murray and centre Tom Daly. There is no shortage of top level experience in the “A” team squad including Scrum Half John Cooney, a Heineken cup winner, and powerful No 8 Leo Auva’a who has a number of Rabo12 games to his name.
Moseley will need to put the frustrations of what might have been at Pandy Park last weekend behind them and focus on building on what went right. The intensity at the opening of the game and during the second half needs to be maintained for a full eighty minutes, but executed with precision.
It was again a case of the opposition benefiting from mistakes that led to Moseley’s downfall. It is not a great stretch of the imagination to suggest if errors had not gifted so many scores to opponents this season then we would now be looking at a very different set of results.
If the team focusses initially on the basic of retaining ball, being patient and not trying to go that one pace too far in contact then a solid base to launch attacks would develop. Quick ball off the breakdown, moved at pace will unleash our potent outside backs. Couple this with creating a pressure defence then opportunities, and results, will come.
We need to look to senior players like Mike Powell to set the example in playing with control and passion while reading how the game develops and varying plays accordingly.
We have players capable of creating and taking tries. We have a pack capable of winning good first phase ball. The skills are there. The team need to believe in themselves and we the supporters need to keep encouraging them.
Let’s hope Moseley take this game as the opportunity to right the wrongs of recent weeks and get the season back on track.
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