1st XV Match Preview V Rotherham (a) Fri 26/12/2014 

by Glyn Barlow

At last the distractions of cup rugby are behind us and we can focus our attentions back onto the important part of the season as the league recommences (again).

If we are to reflect on the cup campaign it hasn’t been without some positives. The last break has provided time to rest weary and bruised bones, and thankfully no serious injuries were picked up.

The games also gave the coaching team chance to assess some of the younger squad members plus a few guests and they will have generally been pleased with what they saw. While a whole new Championship ready XV didn’t emerge (and nobody expected it to) players like Jack Lea, Harry Hone, Nile Dacres and Ed Sheldon will have done themselves no harm at all.

Our Boxing Day opponents Rotherham have enjoyed a successful cup campaign to date, finishing top of Pool 2, progressing to a quarter final against Leinster A. They would have finished the pool on a 100% record had they not fell at the last hurdle against Yorkshire Carnegie when they suffered a home defeat 22 – 28.

Those of you with long memories will recall Rotherham currently stand in fourth place in the league having won five of their eight games to date, losses coming to fellow play off chasers Bristol 26 – 17, Worcester 7 – 47 and London Scottish 32 – 23. Rotherham have also had to fight hard for victories over Plymouth 30 – 25, Jersey 29 – 32 and Yorkshire Carnegie 0 – 6.

New faces at Clifton Lane this season include second rows Olly Parkinson from Sedgley Park, Perry Parker from Edinburgh and Sean Robinson on loan from Newcastle, fly half’s Tom Barrett from Wharfdale and James McKinney from Ulster and No8 Will Ryan from Cork. On the debit side in recent weeks the team has lost centre Jack Roberts to Leicester and scrum half Zylon McGaffin returning to South Africa.

Moseley and Rotherham met three times last season as part of the ill-conceived super Saturday extra game idea, and on the whole it wasn’t a pleasant experience for Moseley losing all three fixtures, the two early season games being heavy defeats before Moseley found their feet and made a good effort of it in the away fixture.

Sat 14th Sept 2013

Moseley

24 – 42

Rotherham

Sat 28th Sept 2013

Moseley

21 – 47

Rotherham

Sat 1st Feb 2014

Rotherham

16 – 6

Moseley

Clearly the team will be keen to extract some revenge for last season’s results as well as starting the second half of the season on a positive note. One thing they will still need to address based on the Munster game is to play with the same level of concentration, intensity and discipline for the full eighty minutes.

Where early season games had seen a slow start, being countered with a good second half performance, Moseley came out of the blocks with relish against the Irishmen and put them under pressure for the first half. Unfortunately they were unable to create the sparks to break down a good opposition defence and possession was not converted to points. Unfortunately the game was lost in the second half when indiscipline left the team short-handed for most of the 40 minutes and Munster took advantage of their numerical superiority.

All that has gone before is history, this is a chance to finish 2014 on a positive note and build momentum for the 2015 league campaign.