1st XV Match Preview V Bedford (a) Fri 15/11/2013 

Match Preview - by Glyn Barlow

 

 

How good it feels to start this week’s preview with the words….Following back to back Championship victories the team travel to Bedford on Friday looking for a hat trick.

 

 

 

And it is with a greater degree of self belief that Moseley face a Bedford team currently one place, and one point, below them in the league than has been the case for many seasons.

 

 

 

Indeed if the record of only two wins against Nottingham in the Championship was one the team were pleased to improve upon then the chance of a 100% improvement against Bedford may well be on the cards. We have to look back to 2006 for the only time Moseley beat Bedford, in what was National Division 1, 44 – 37 at home. A win at Goldington Road is then something to be prized.

 

 

 

Last season the results made painful reading for Moseley supporters as a new, promising, radically different squad visited Bedford for the opening game of the season and left shell shocked after one of their worst defeats of many a season.

 

 

 

Saturday 1st September 2012

Bedford

50 – 6

Moseley

Saturday 20th April 2013

Moseley

29 – 41

Bedford

 

 

 

It’s probably fair to say that it’s a very different Bedford that Moseley will take on this season. Having won only one game against bottom place Ealing at home 31 – 14, the Blues have seen adverse results against London Welsh, Jersey, Bristol, Nottingham, Leeds & Cornish Pirates. The fact that four of the six losses were against current top five team’s means we probably shouldn’t read too much into Bedford’s record to date. Last week against Pirates they were just shaded out by three points and ran Leeds to within a point, in fact their only comprehensive loss has been at the hands of Bristol.

 

 

 

During the summer the team underwent a number of changes; Alex Rae, Ricky Reeves and Josh Bassett moved on the Premiership rugby with Wasps, James Stephenson to Worcester and Chris Locke to Coventry. To counter the outgoings the Blues brought in highly rated Jersey fly half Michael LeBourgeois, Leicester hooker Charlie Clare, winger Sam Stanley from Saracens and prop Nico Steenkamp from Coventry.

 

 

 

Players to watch out for in the Bedford squad include ever reliable kicker James Prichard (currently third in the league’s leading scorers) who has also contributed four tries to his haul of points, although he may be away in international duty with Canada this week, and centre Ollie Dodge who brings a strong attacking presence to midfield. Bedford may also be without the services of stalwart back row Sasha Harding who has been selected to play for the Barbarians against the Combined Services on Tuesday.

 

 

 

As we first started this preview considering, Moseley will enter the game with a feeling that the hard work is starting to pay off. Last Saturday again represented a significant step forward for the team in terms of performance as much as result. The team played with more pace and desire to keep possession than in any of their previous games.

 

 

 

Without a doubt the one of the highlights of the game was the performance of Caolan Ryan who, when asked to step in at fly half at the 11th hour, played a game of authority and poise that made light of the fact that this was his Championship debut. A 100% kicking performance, good defence and an eye for attack all contributed to an impressive match for the former Moseley mini & junior. In addition to Caolan’s contribution Buster Lawrence grabbed the opportunity offered by his first start in the second row to show how dynamic a player he can be.

 

 

 

Despite the 29 – 15 score line there were still areas the team needs to address if they are to make the push up the table. Dave Hilton cannot have been happy with the problems encountered in the scrum particularly as it allowed Nottingham to keep in touch through penalties. Possibly the willingness to run from deep exposed them at times to infringements in their own half. A more tactical approach of playing for territory may be needed at times.

 

 

 

That said Moseley looked more at home playing the exciting attacking brand of rugby on show. If they continue to combine it with the mean defence that hasn’t conceded a try in the last two games then we could well be celebrating a first away Championship win over the Blues.