1st XV Match Preview V Nottingham (h) Sat 18/10/2014 

by Glyn Barlow

 

The British & Irish Cup is back at Billesley this Saturday when Nottingham are our welcome visitors.

With one round of the competition gone Moseley and Nottingham have both experienced narrow losses, picking up losing bonus points in the process.

For Moseley the long trip to Clonmel RFC saw them equalling the Munster men in terms of tries, but unfortunately conceded too many penalties to pull back a win despite Caolan Ryan’s last minute strike. Having kept the pressure on the opposition all through the first half Moseley will feel that this is one they let get away.

Nottingham, meanwhile, played hosts to Worcester Warriors and with similarities to Moseley’s game proved competitive in the first half before mistakes allowed Worcester to secure the win.

Nottingham will have taken some positives from the fact that the 19 – 26 score line was a big improvement over the 55 – 16 league defeat at Sixways a couple of weeks ago. With, however, so many changes to the squads brought about by the nature of the cup’s perceived importance it’s hard to draw any concrete conclusions from the two games.

So far this season things have been progressing pretty well for the men in green and white, having won three of their five Championship games to date. When you consider that they won only five throughout last season, supporters and management have every right to start thinking they may have turned a corner, with wins over Bedford, Plymouth and most significantly Yorkshire Carnegie to their credit.

It’s not unreasonable to assume the changes in fortune are down to a combination of close season activities in retaining key players while bolstering the squad with new signings, the latest being prop George Porter on loan from Worcester. He joins duel registered England U20 fly half Louis Grumoldby from Harlequins, wingers Corey Venus from Leicester Academy and Liam O’Neil from London Welsh, tight head prop Conor Carey from Ealing and New Zealand 7s international Paul Grant at No8.

Key retentions for Nottingham have included Fijian prop Campese Ma’afu, fly half Dan Mugford and prop Michael Holford. Indeed Mugford & Holford’s performances so far have seen them selected for the Championship XV against Canada.

In addition to these players there are a few who will be well acquainted with the layout of Billesley Common in the familiar faces of winger Billy Robinson who has joined from Ealing, centre Joe Munro and full back Ed Styles.

Aside from any news on players and results the big story at Nottingham at the moment is the decision to, for now, move their first XV games away from Meadow Lane to their current training ground at the Lady Bay Sports Ground. This should give the club a greater opportunity to generate their own income rather than incurring the cost of utilising a football stadium, thus securing financial security for the future. A pragmatic and sensible approach.

This week Moseley are still looking for that elusive first competitive win of the season and will certainly be keen to ensure the monkey jumps off their back before the return of the Greene King IPA Championship.

The cup has presented an opportunity for some players to stake a claim to a starting spot while recovery from injury has been the order of the day for others. With the relatively lean squad the club has though it’s no rest for most of the players so we are unlikely to see wholesale changes from the side who faced Munster A.

Last season the two teams played each other twice with honours even, one game apiece.

Saturday 9th November 2013

Moseley

29 – 15

Nottingham

Friday 18th April 2014

Nottingham

29 – 24

Moseley

Moseley will be keen to avenge last season’s loss at Meadow Lane and start to get their season back on track. To do so they need to show the same application they demonstrated during the first half in Munster, and for the first thirty minutes of the Bristol fixture, but carry on the intensity for the whole game. The team is close to firing on all cylinders; let’s hope the cup provides the opportunity for them to find their winning ways.

As ever, we are assured an entertaining game between the two sides.