1st XV Match Preview V London Scottish (h) Sat 08/11/2014 

PLEASE NOTE 12.00PM KICK OFF TIME

by Glyn Barlow

Does anybody remember league rugby? It seems a long time ago when Moseley played their last Championship fixture, as is the nature of this stop start fixture list.

After three weeks of British & Irish Cup action and a week off while the Championship XV played Canada London Scottish are our visitors this weekend.

It’s fair to assume that Scottish will be pretty pleased with their initial run of league games. An opening day win over Rotherham was followed by further success against Cornish Pirates and Bedford. The wheels somewhat came off the bus against Bristol who inflicted a 42-17 defeat on the exiles. They seemed to get this out of their system pretty quickly and vented their frustration on Plymouth Albion with a ten try 64-16 crushing to close phase one of their league campaign.

This season Scottish have introduced a number of new faces in their push to be a playoff contender. In the front row props Ben Prescott and Max Maidment joined from Cornish Pirates with James Hallam from Newcastle. Maidment has made an immediate impact earning himself a place in last weekend’s Championship XV squad along with Number 8 Mark Bright, wing Miles Mantella and back row James Phillips, a recruit this season from Exeter.

In the backs South African Errie Classens joined from Rotherham along with a player familiar to Moseley fans in winger Matt Williams. In six appearances this season Matt has scored two tries, this does however fall some way behind the league’s leading try scorer Mark Bright who has scored nine in only five league games including two hat tricks in the first two games of the season.

The three weeks of cup action have been less successful for Scottish with losses to Pontypridd (23-17), Bristol (18-22) and Connacht Eagles (30-27). As is the nature of the cup it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions from these results as Scottish took the opportunity to rest players and give starts to fringe squad members.

By the same logic it is unwise to put too much store behind Moseley’s results in the cup. There are, however, a number of positives that can be taken from these games, not least that the team secured their first win of the season against Nottingham. In addition to this result some players will have caught the coaches eye with their performances. Young Jack Lea has created some real pressure on Adam Caves & Scott Tolmie for the number 2 shirt. Nile Dacres has impressed with his work rate and ball carrying, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi looks a good prospect at prop and Joe Carpenter has re-enforced his commitment to the cause at flanker with some industrious games.

In addition the cup games and last week’s break (for all but Greg King and Will Owen who represented the club with distinction as part of the Championship XV who defeated Canada) has given time for players to recover from knocks and niggling injuries so we should see a starting XV fit and raring to go.

Last season London Scottish were winners on both occasions the sides met snatching a win at Billesley in March with the last kick of the game.

30th November 2013

London Scottish

38 – 17

Moseley

22nd March 2014

Moseley

20 – 23

London Scottish

To defeat Scottish this time Moseley cannot afford to allow the exiles to play the game with any form of attacking platform. The back row will be vital in keeping the likes of Bright in check while a strong defence moving up to pressurise will be essential to deprive their wide players of ball and space to work in.

In addition it is essential that Moseley find their attacking game which has been somewhat AWOL recently. Angles need to be run, pace varied and options assessed and taken. The A game plan needs to move on to B, C or D if necessary, and key senior players need to be calling those changes as they assess the game developing.

London Scottish will provide a tough challenge but if Moseley want to kick their season into gear home games like this one are where they need to step up and make their own change of fortunes.