1st XV Match Preview V Leeds (a) Sun 16/02/2014 

by Glyn Barlow

After the unplanned week off due to the weather Moseley make a trip north this weekend to take on second place Leeds Carnegie (or Yorkshire Carnegie as they will apparently be known as, from next season).

 

Never an easy side to play Leeds have only lost one encounter at home this season, way back at the beginning of November against London Welsh. Recent weeks have seen big wins against Ealing (11-46) and Bedford (50-6) in a season which has also yielded victories over fellow promotion chasers Bristol (twice) and Rotherham.

 

Earlier in their campaign Leeds visited Billesley Common and held off a spirited performance to take the result 18 – 27. Following a very positive opening 40 minutes, which saw a well taken try for Chris Brightwell, Moseley allowed Leeds to build a lead after half time which they were unable to haul in. One of the key architects of the win was fly half Glyn Hughes who put his knowledge of the Common, from his two seasons in red and black, to good use scoring twelve points.

 

Hughes has carried on this good form currently standing sixth in the league’s leading points scorers on 95, an impressive situation when you consider he is sharing kicking duties, and the fly half shirt, with Alex Lozowski who has one point less than him. So ensuring no kickable penalties are given away must be one of Moseley’s priorities on Sunday.

 

Not that we can assume Leeds will just be a threat with the boot. On loan Wasps wing Jonah Holmes is equalling Rhys Buckley’s try scoring feats with seven to date and is being chased all the way by his fellow wing David Doherty. However it’s not just these two players who can create a problem for opponents as Leeds currently are the second highest team in terms of tries scored with 49.

 

Since the two teams met in October Leeds have augmented their squad with the loans of 6’ 5” England U20 back row David Sisi from Bath and England Saxon centre Jon Clarke from Worcester Warriors.

 

While Moseley’s players will probably have benefited from an extra week to rest bumps and bruises they will be keen to ensure they can start the game in the same good form that has seen wins over Ealing and Cross Keys (cup) and a close defeat away at Rotherham.

 

Indeed it is the game at Clifton Lane which more than any underlines how far the squad has developed in the last few months, as the Moseley pack put considerable pressure on a big Rotherham eight and only just missed out on a bonus point in the last minutes of the match.

 

If Moseley can produce the level of performance which they are clearly capable of for a full 80 minutes then they can challenge any team in the league.

 

With just two points between 1st and 4th place and four points separating 7th and 10th place the league is proving to be very competitive. It is vital that Moseley look to secure any points on offer to rise to their targeted mid table finish, and more importantly pull further away from the bottom of league dogfight.

 

Yorkshire could be a good place to do just that.