1st XV Match Preview V Rotherham (h) Sat 13/02/2016 

by Glyn Barlow

Moseley return to the Common this weekend with Rotherham the visitors for a game both teams will be looking to as a much needed win.

For Moseley the trip last week to Jersey on the whole represented a significant performance improvement from the previous fixture against Nottingham. In the end, however, they will still view it as three points lost rather than a bonus point gained. Coupled with Ealing managing a home draw against much fancied Doncaster this now leaves Moseley one point adrift at the bottom of the league.

For our opponents Rotherham the fixture will be viewed as a chance to halt a concerning run of nine consecutive losses in league and cup. The Titans must look back to November 8th for their last league win, against Nottingham (11-17). Rotherham currently stand in tenth place, seven points above Moseley, and will be very conscious that a couple more results going against them could drag them further into the relegation fight. An issue for Rotherham, contributing to their position, has been a lack of bonus points secured, currently having collected the least in the league with two try BPs and one losing BP.

For the Rotherham players and supporters it must be a frustrating, and perhaps surprising, situation after a very positive start that yielded six wins in the first two months of the season including London Welsh (32-16), Doncaster (30-23), Pirates away (24-26) and of course Moseley (37-27) in October.

That game at Clifton Lane will go down in Moseley Rugby history as one of the most bizarre of recent times. At one point Moseley were reduced to 11 men due to four yellow cards in five minutes, yet managed to still score a try through Tim Molenaar. Pulling themselves back to just three points adrift with sixty seconds to go their comeback was thwarted by a last minute Titans try and conversion.

Since that fixture the clubs have met twice more in the British and Irish Cup with Moseley winning both back to back games in December 26-10 at home and 19-20 away, in the last one pegging back a 16-0 deficit within the first 20 minutes to do so.

Since the last match between the teams Rotherham have drafted in Scottish U20 second row Adam Sinclair from Albi in France, to strengthen their pack.

Going into this game Moseley will be looking to build upon a good forward performance in the Channel Islands, although there were shades of the early season lineout misfires to be corrected. The Moseley eight handled a big Jersey pack well, particularly at scrum time and will be looking to continue this against the Yorkshire men.

A good performance from Charlie Foley at fly half improved the game management of the team from the previous week and allowed Moseley to exert pressure on Jersey. More of the same will be needed this week.

Both teams will be going into this game with no lack of motivation so we should be in for an epic encounter.