1st XV Match Preview V London Scottish (h) Sat 22/03/2014 


by Glyn Barlow

After a well-earned week off Moseley face the challenge of London Scottish this Saturday.

The team will be keen to reverse the disappointing 38-17 loss in Richmond last November.Photo

Since the two teams last met Scottish have maintained their challenge for a top four play-off spot, currently sitting just off the pace in fifth, eight points behind Rotherham following losses to fellow title contenders Leeds & the aforementioned Titans. As every result is vital to their aspirations you can be assured they will be targeting this week as a must win game.

Away form, however, has somewhat deserted Scottish recently as they have to look back to December for their last Championship win on the road, in a run which has included a loss at Bedford 21 – 13 on New Year’s Day and Nottingham 15 – 3 in January.

In the time since they last played Moseley Scottish have brought in Glasgow Warriors prop George Hunter on loan. Anybody who witnessed Scottish’s scrum against Moseley in November would be excused with wondering if they really needed to strengthen this area of their squad, so dominant were they. Although they were helped by Moseley being unable to get on the right side of the referee’s interpretation of the set piece for most of the game.

Hunter is also joined at the Athletic ground by American Eagles scrum half Robbie Shaw from Esher and utility back Dante Mama from London Welsh.

This season Scottish have proved to be a team who know their way to the try line with Miles Mantella leading the list of Championship try scorers on sixteen, closely followed by Mark Bright with twelve. Moseley know all about the threat Mantilla can pose given half an opportunity as his hat trick in the away fixture underlined.

PhotoIndeed Moseley should know quite a bit about the capabilities of a team which contain ex captain Andy Reay, second row’s Paul Spivey & David Lyons, scrum half Jordi Pasqualin and back row Chevvy Pennycook, who this week committed to another two seasons at Scottish.

As much as Scottish have looked in vain for away form Moseley seem to have hit a rich vein of the home stuff. We have to look back to November and the visit of London Welsh for the last reversal.  Since then six home wins in a row have boosted both league position and confidence at Billesley.

This weekend the team will be looking to put out of their minds the away trip to London Welsh and instead concentrate on building on the performances that saw victories over Bedford and Cornish Pirates on the previous two weekends.

Most heartening in both matches was the way the team played an astute tactical game, using the elements effectively and controlling play in the opposition half. Another aspect that should put the team in a more optimistic mood is the performance of the tight five, transformed from that November day in London, who have been able to secure the front foot ball their backs have long deserved.

This weekend is a chance for Moseley to go one stage further towards consolidating their mid table position and push for a top half finish to the season.

Let’s get behind the team to maintain their home run.