by Glyn Barlow
And so for the third time in this mixed up schedule that is our season attentions turn back to the British & Irish Cup with the welcome visit of Leinster A to the Common.
Following the recent brace of league rounds pushing Moseley to the basement of the Championship this game, and the following weeks trip to Ealing, bring considerably more significance to the cup ties than might normally be subscribed.
With Moseley currently standing in second place in Pool One, with a real prospect of progressing to the quarter finals, of greater importance is seizing the opportunity to use the game time to put right issues exposed in recent weeks. While Moseley have demonstrated that they have the potential to be a threat in attack (with 3 of the top 15 try scorers in the league in their ranks) it has been defence that has proved to be their Achilles heel, indeed five of their last six league encounters has seen try bonus points conceded.
Moseley’s previous cup game at Leinster, a 55-12 loss, underlined that the team must find ways to maintain their defensive alignments while trying to develop a tactical game that pushes play into the opposition half.
If Moseley are to succeed this weekend they will need to contain the Cup’s leading try scorer in back row Dan Leavy who has already helped himself to five, demonstrating Leinster’s effectiveness in close quarter forward play, along with Clontarf wing Colm O’Shea who has picked up four, three of them against Moseley.
In addition to the task of stopping the opposition scoring Moseley also need to correct a lineout that has misfired significantly, unfortunately often in extremely favourable attacking positions. It is always a challenge with the time available between games to focus significantly on such aspects of play but hopefully the blank weekend will have offered opportunities to work on these areas.
Since the two teams met in the cup in November Leinster have completed a double over Ealing winning 45-13 at home and 10-36 away. At the same time as the Irishmen were achieving this Moseley completed their own double over Rotherham 26-10 and 19-20, to leave the table showing Leinster A top with 19 points and Moseley second on 14. Leinster will be going all out for victory this weekend knowing they can then have the security of qualifying with a game to spare.
With the five pool winners and top three second placed teams progressing to the quarter finals Moseley currently hold one of those runners up spots. Positive performances this weekend and down in London could well see the team through, with the associated financial benefit of progressing to add to a confidence boosting mind-set to take back into the league campaign.
This could just be the most important two weeks of cup rugby Moseley have played for many a season.
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