By Glyn Barlow
This week our attention switches back to cup action with the visit of Rotherham to Billesley Common for the second of four encounters this season.
In October Moseley travelled to Yorkshire for the first of the Championship games only to come away empty handed 37-27 in a bizarre game which saw Moseley reduced to 11 men at one point (although on the plus side they did score their third try while reduced to this strength). Despite pushing hard to the end a seventy-ninth minute try and conversion saw the game and a bonus point drift away from the men in red and black.
The back to back cup games against Rotherham over a period of eight days give Moseley an opportunity to extract revenge for the loss and also to build upon a strong performance against league leaders Bristol last Saturday.
If ever there was a game of two halves then last weekend’s encounter was a textbook example as the Billesley Breeze saw Bristol open up a 0-27 half time lead only for Moseley to come back with all guns blazing to finish 28-39. They may feel aggrieved to have not got more than the one bonus point from the encounter as a touchdown over the line in the first half was adjudged to be a knock on.
Since the two teams last met Rotherham have enjoyed mixed fortunes with Championship wins against London Welsh (32-16) and Nottingham (11-17) tempered by losses to Bedford (46-28), Jersey (6-27) and London Scottish (21-16) leaving them currently standing in seventh place ten points ahead of Moseley.
On the cup front Rotherham fell at home to Leinster A (9-12), following this up with a comfortable away win over Ealing (12-48) drawing parallels of results with Moseley’s cup encounters against Ealing (37-31) and Leinster A (55-12) leaving Titans in second place in Pool 1 and Moseley in third.
As ever it is difficult to draw any firm expectations on how a cup encounter may play out as it is very much dependant on the thoughts of the respective coaching teams as to how they wish to approach the games from a selection point of view. For Moseley they will be looking to improve on the Bristol performance particularly in set piece play where they struggled to secure significant levels of possession. We can probably expect over the next two games that some players who have been almost ever present this campaign will be given some rest time, while the opportunity to try out some new combinations must also be on the cards.
While progressing from the pool stages of the cup would be a welcome bonus the main objective for the next two weeks must to be to get to a position where the team is operating at optimal performance levels for the visit of Bedford on Boxing Day.
As ever we can expect an encounter between Moseley and the Titans to be a competitive affair, whatever the competition, and we can also hope for a feast of festive rugby to be served up this Saturday.
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