1st XV Match Preview V London Welsh (h) Sat 19/09/2015 

by Glyn Barlow

It’s croeso i Billesley this Saturday as London Welsh are our first visitors of the season.

And it’s perhaps a very different start to the season for both teams than most “experts” expected with Moseley standing in 4th place in the league and Welsh in 8th. It is however far too early in proceedings to draw any conclusions from this, but from a Moseley perspective we should be forgiven for taking some pleasure in the best start to a league campaign since 2008 (particularly with two away fixtures to contend with).

It’s probably fair to assume Welsh, just relegated from the Premiership, are going to provide an extremely tough challenge. After what must have been a demoralising 2014/15 campaign, hamstrung by the regulations and vagaries of the Premiership, they recorded their first league win in sixteen months away to Doncaster 33-35. Last weekend saw what many feel might just be the playoff final candidates take on each other when Welsh went down at home to Bristol 22-36.

Following a move back to Old Deer Park from Oxford the Londoners retained a number of key players and have made a number of notable additions as they look to bounce back to top tier rugby. Among those who have stayed are former Moseley No8 Ben Pienaar, prop Jack Guilding and hooker Koree Britton Along with this trio full back Seb Jewell, former England fly half Olly Barkley and second row Matt Corker will all be wearing the dragon once more.

New faces in the squad include South African second row Brendon Snyman from Pro12 Montauban, 6’ 5” centre Guy Armitage, Samoan international second row Dan Leo from London Irish, former Moseley scrum half Ryann Glynn from Jersey and ex Worcester fly half Joe Carlisle from Treviso. There is also a return for a player who Moseley supporters may not have such fond memories of, in winger Josh Drauniniu who scored four tries against us for Welsh in 2010.

The last time the two teams met in 2013/14 Welsh won both encounters:

Saturday23rd November 2013

Moseley

8 – 24

London Welsh

Saturday 9th March 2014

London Welsh

42-18

Moseley

 

A player who will be relishing this encounter will be Tim Molenaar who, due to an injury blighted season, found himself unable to show London Welsh supporters what he could do while he was signed to the club last season.

For Moseley to succeed they must take positives from the Bedford game in terms of how they showed great resilience in adversity and the ability to score tries, but they must also look to Bedford’s example in how they played with intensity from the first whistle. More aggressive defence around breakdown and the centre channels plus greater alertness will be needed against such a strong outfit as Welsh.  

For Moseley this is the opportunity to prove the opening week was not some fluke but the start of a successful campaign by this exciting squad.