1st XV Match Preview V London Scottish (a) Sat 30/11/2013 

by Glyn Barlow

Moseley move on to the second part of their back to back “London Exiles” challenge with a visit to London Scottish this week.It is a measure of how far the team has grown in the last few weeks that they left the field on Saturday, after a very credible performance against the league leaders, feeling they could have achieved more. Anyone who witnessed the early season heavy losses to Rotherham would not have predicted that this team could hold last season’s Premiership team to an 8 – 24 score line.

 

On cold reflection during their next training session players & coaches will probably have shelved the disappointment and recognised that the performance, while not perfect, was again another step forward in the improvements kick started by the away win over Ealing. To put some more perspective on Moseley’s performance only three teams have held Welsh to a smaller points difference in their nine victories so far.

 

That’s not to say that Moseley can consider this week’s game any easier. Currently Scottish are enjoying their best start to a Championship campaign sitting in a play-off berth, having won six matches to date including impressive wins over Leeds & Plymouth. Scottish may count themselves unlucky that they do not have more points to their credit with losses to Rotherham by 1 point and Pirates by 8 points.

 

In the build up to the season Scottish supplemented their squad by the signing of 18 cap Irish international flanker Neil Best from Worcester, Llanelli Scarlets fly half Dan Newton plus ex Moseley men scrum half Jordi Pasqualin from Newcastle and David Lyons from Pirates. A raiding party to Rotherham also brought back dynamic hooker Ted Stagg, prop Jamie Kilnbane, and wingers Mike Doneghan & Peter Homan. When one adds the fact that Scottish’s squad includes former Moseley captain Andy Reay, Chevvy Pennycook & Paul Spivey in their ranks the team in Blue & White could look pretty familiar to the travelling Moseley support.

 

Since Scottish’s promotion to the Championship the teams have met eight times in cup & league with Scottish winning 5 to Moseley’s 3.Last season’s results were all close fought affairs:

 

Sat 20th Oct 2012

Cup

London Scottish

37 – 41

Moseley

Sat 24th Nov 2012

League

London Scottish

23 – 18

Moseley

Fri 11th Jan 2013

Cup

Moseley

13 – 12

London Scottish

Sat 30th Mar 2013

League

Moseley

20 - 25

London Scottish

 

We should expect no less this weekend. A key factor for Moseley will be containing flying wing Miles Mantella who currently leads the league in tries scored closely followed by New Zealander Mark Bright in the back row. A factor of recent weeks has been Moseley’s new found miserly defence which has only conceded 4 tries in the last four games, with 3 of them coming against London Welsh.

 

Moseley’s first priority will be for the pack to replicate the excellent performances of recent weeks. With the likes of Mike Powell, Rhys Buckley and Adam Parkin stepping up the intensity of their play they should be able to secure quality ball for the backline. A key focus for the coaching team will be to ensure the backs maximises the use of such possession. With Will Owen growing into the centre berth, providing a willingness to look for a gap, the team will be trying to vary the point of attack and bring the back three into play more.

 

If Moseley are to secure a mid-table place and build upon it then these are the type of challenging fixtures they need to start winning. Yet to record a victory at Richmond Athletic Ground in Championship games this could be an opportunity to give the teams confidence another massive boost.