1st XV Match Preview V Jersey (a) Sat 29/03/2014 

by Glyn Barlow

Following last week’s disappointing last minute loss to London Scottish Moseley make a trip overseas to play Jersey.

The match against Scottish was a hard fought one and they can expect no let up from a Jersey team looking to put some daylight between themselves and basement club Ealing.

 

With only nine points between the two teams at the bottom, and Jersey missing a golden opportunity with a loss last week at the Trailfinders, the islanders will not be feeling too comfortable at present. As two of their remaining four games are against top five opponents, plus a trip away to Bedford,  you can expect that they will have targeted the visit of Moseley as a must win game.

 

For Moseley this match also provides an opportunity to defiantly secure their Championship status which, mathematically at least, is still not a done deal.

 

When the two teams met in December Moseley won a tense, close fought game 10-3, so there will certainly be no complacency as the team arrive in St Peter.

 

Since that encounter Jersey have enjoyed victories over Nottingham and Plymouth Albion and although they have lost a further six Championship games they have run London Welsh (26-33), Rotherham (22-35) and Leeds (13-18) very close to suggest they are a better team than eleventh place indicates.

 

In a bid to push for Championship safety coach Harvey Biljon has drafted in Australian Flanker Ryan Hodson who has appeared this season for Super Rugby team Melbourne Rebels.  The battle of the opensides between Hodson and Moseley’s Ollie Robinson should be worth the admission price alone. Hodson is joined in Jersey by 19 stone loosehead prop Sam Lockwood who is on loan from Leeds until the end of the season.

 

Moseley will keen to work off the frustrations of last week’s game which saw them come within seconds of securing a well-deserved draw. Having fought back from a 10-20 deficit and with the elements against them the team showed their resilience taking Scottish into the third minute of injury time before finally falling short. Highlights of the performance were three well taken tries, two by Ollie Robinson who somewhat blotted his copybook with a perhaps harsh yellow card which saw Scottish score twelve points during his unscheduled rest.

 

The team will look this week to build upon what was generally a good forward performance against Scottish, with ex-Jersey player coach Ben Evans to the fore. Key to success will be in the backline where players have an opportunity to make an impact on the opposition defence with some strong running, and challenging angles of attack. A highlight of last week’s performance was when ball was recycled quickly and backs, such as try scorer Matt Williams, were able to run onto it at pace.

 

One thing is certain about a trip to Jersey, players and supporters will enjoy the hospitality of the island, but let’s not leave any points behind when the team returns.