1st XV Match Preview V Cornish Pirates (h) Fri 06/11/2015 

By Glyn Barlow

Just one day after bonfire night Moseley supporters will be hoping for fireworks from their team as Cornish Pirates are the visitors to the Common.

Hopes of a good performance will also be increased following the 52-19 loss at Yorkshire Carnegie last Sunday. While Moseley managed to control possession for significant elements of the game they were unable to translate it into scores to give themselves a forth try and an all-important bonus point. More significantly they were unable to repel the Yorkshiremen when they fired up, crossing the try line eight times. This has left Moseley in tenth place but with the unwelcome statistics of most points against (251) and most tries conceded (33) than any other team. Balance this out with the fact Moseley sit seventh in both the leagues try scoring and points scoring tables (and have the league’s third highest points scorer in Glyn Hughes) clearly suggests that the potential is there in attack, but sorting out the defensive issues must be the priority for the coaching team.

One of the key factors in effective defence is having the familiarity and organisation that time together as a team fosters, and this is an area Moseley will always, as a semi-professional team, find challenging when faced with full time outfits. This is a challenge the coaching team have faced before and we should be confident they will be able to address it again. 

This week’s opponents Cornish Pirates have been enduring similar trials and tribulations. While boasting a better defensive record than Moseley it appears attack may be their challenge as they sit bottom of the points scoring (129) and try scoring (14) tables, just one place and one point below Moseley. Their two wins to date have come at the expense of Nottingham (18-14) on the opening weekend of the season and London Scottish (21-17). Losses were suffered against Jersey 17-15, Rotherham (24-26), Ealing (28-17), Carnegie (13-26), Doncaster (28-11) and Bristol (10-40). Bristol aside the relatively close nature of the losses suggest Pirates are a competitive team very near to getting it to all come together on the pitch.

A tightening of budgets has seen Pirates struggle to maintain the levels of success enjoyed a few seasons ago but that has not stopped them bringing in some exciting players including Canadian second row Brett Beukaboom from Plymouth and ex Saints & Moseley scrum half Alex Day.

Last season the home team took the honours in each fixture between the two sides:

Sunday 28th Sept 2014

Cornish Pirates

29-19

Moseley

Saturday 7th Feb 2015

Moseley

22-18

Cornish Pirates

  

For Moseley this week’s game must be seen as an opportunity to kick start a season which promised much on the opening day, and which then seemed to be getting in gear with the recent impressive 35-25 win over Ealing.

To do this though we will need to see the back line step up their defensive efforts coupled with the back row dominating the breakdown and fringes of set pieces. Now is the time for players to show the undoubted abilities that persuaded the coaching team to want to bring them to Billesley Common in the first place. In a squad as small as Moseley’s there is no room to hide, we need every player showing 100% commitment every time they take to the field.

Let’s hope we see it on Friday.