1st XV Match Preview V Worcester (a) Sat 13/09/2014 

 

by Glyn Barlow

 

After the opening weekend draw against Jersey Moseley face what might be one of their toughest challenges of the season with an away trip to newly relegated Worcester this week.

Reflecting on last week’s game there are both positives and negatives to be taken into account. Clearly Jersey started the game at a faster pace and didn’t allow Moseley much of an opportunity to settle into any rhythm. It was to the team’s credit that they stepped up a gear or two in the second half and started to take the game to the islanders. In the first half the lineout failed to produce quality ball and the scrum proved to be an area of contention with the referee. In the second forty the lineout came good and the scrum gained parity. Jersey will be kicking themselves at two yellow cards during which Moseley scored their three tries.

And it was three tries courtesy of players at both ends of the spectrum of their Moseley careers. Neil Mason started his testimonial year in spectacular fashion with a try out of the Chris Ashton book of touching the ball down (if we keep to the analogy of diving into water perhaps not so much of an “Ash Splash” as a “Waggy Bomb”). In his first league game for the club summer signing Drew Cheshire showed everybody what he is capable of with a fine brace of tries, a few more of those and we will have all forgotten Matt whatshisname.

While Moseley were getting out of jail last week Worcester were facing the team most people consider to be one of the main roadblocks in their drive back to the Premiership. Bristol welcomed the Warriors to their new home at Ashton Gate and proceeded to underline why they will be a strong contender for promotion with a 23-19 victory. After leading for most of the game Worcester fell to a last minute try, leaving them pondering on what might have been.

Over the summer months Worcester have drafted in a number of new players to help them in their quest for promotion including Tom Biggs from Bath, back rows Matt Cox from Gloucester & Andries Pretorius from Cardiff Blues and ex-Moseley second row Dan Sanderson from Rotherham. One major blow for the club is the injury of fly half Ryan Lamb who will be out for three months. He joins Welsh international Jonathan Thomas, Ryan Mills and the aforementioned Pretorius on the side-lines. That said Worcester have a large squad and will be able to call on competent deputies to ensure they can be a handful for any team in the league.

If Moseley want to make a contest of it on Saturday they are going to need to start the game with a lot more pace and effort that that which they exhibited at Billesley last week. The Warriors will not lack for time spent together honing moves nor stamina to see them through 80+ minutes of hard rugby. For a team that can only get together a couple of times a week for training it’s a big ask for the lads to match a full time Premiership level squad minute for minute.  

Yet despite the massive gulf in playing funds there is one thing the Moseley players have in abundance and that’s a will to do their best for themselves, the club, their colleagues and the supporters. We saw it last week in the comeback against Jersey, we have seen it in previous seasons where they have surprised more fancied opponents and we just might see it again on Saturday.