1st XV Match Preview V Bristol (h) Sat 04/10/2014 

By Glyn Barlow

Following the agony of the last few minutes in Cornwall last Sunday the team will need to raise their game once again for the visit of Bristol this weekend.

If ever the saying a game of two halves were true it was in the match against the Pirates. Despite the overnight stop on Saturday evening the team seemed to be suffering from “coach lag” as their opponents went three tries up in the first twenty five minutes. To the travelling faithful and those following the game from further afield a mix of shock and worry began to set in, this was almost a carbon copy of last season’s game in the Duchy.

With Deja-vu aplenty it was also a repeat of the previous Championship games so far this season in that it took until the second half, and a series of replacements, for Moseley to find their way. Which they did in style, scoring three tries in ten minutes and looked good for a winning push at the end. It wasn’t however to be, a penalty deep in the Pirates 22 reversed fortunes and the game was taken away from them as they returned to Billesley without even a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.

In contrast on Friday Bristol had demolished high flying London Scottish in a six try blitz that included two penalty tries. This result continued their 100% record following an equally big win over Pirates the week before and victories over fellow promotion chasers Carnegie and Worcester to top the league.

It will come as no surprise that Bristol are proving to be such a potent outfit when you consider some of the recruitment their playing budget has allowed them to bring to their new Ashton Gate ground. Let’s start with their Welsh contingent. Newly capped fly half Matthew Morgan, Lock Ian Evans – British & Irish Lion, double Grand Slam winner and 33 Welsh caps, Scrum half Dwane Peel – British & Irish Lion, Grand Slam winner in 20005 & 2008 and 76 Welsh caps and if that wasn’t enough triple Grand Slam winner (captain for two of them), British & Irish Lion and holder of 75 caps Ryan Jones in the back row.

Add to that quartet the likes of Scarlets centre Gareth Maule, Samoan internationals David Lemi & Anthony Perenise, Scottish international Ross Rennie (previously on loan from Edinburgh) and ex Moseley man Ollie Robinson and you can see why Andy Robinson’s team will be a handful for anyone.

Not that playing against the men in blue and white usually overawes Moseley, who have one of their best records in the Championship against the Bristolians, with four wins and a draw from ten games to date (plus a cup win in 2011 to their credit).

Last season a comprehensive away loss at Bristol was followed by a much closer game under the cameras of Sky TV

Sat 28th Dec 2013

Bristol

29 – 8

Moseley

Sat 12th April 2014

Moseley

24 – 33

Bristol

If Moseley want to take anything from this game they must increase the intensity, accuracy and discipline of their play to a level we have yet to see for a full 80 minutes this season. Glimpses of such capabilities suggest it is possible but the team cannot afford another poor start and it must be going through the coaching teams mind that some of the players who have made an impact off the bench might be better deployed doing so from the start of the game.

This has been a tough start to the season, and it won’t get any easier against Bristol. While league points have been lacking so far the team has played with commitment and endeavour. If a mid-table finish is the target again this season then points at home are a must and what better way to show supporters and opponents a statement of intent than by picking some up against the league leaders.