1st XV Match Report V Launceston (Away) Sat 17/12/2005 

Launceston 28 Moseley 7 - December 17th 2005

This report, from the Launceston perspective, from the Western Morning News........

Launceston gave themselves and their supporters some early festive cheer with this decisive win over second-placed Moseley, who had lost only one league game before their visit to the Duchy.

The Birmingham-based visitors certainly had that smile of over-confidence on their faces when they arrived at Polson Bridge. However, it was soon wiped off.

The lessons and tactical advice dinned into the All Blacks' squad week in, week out was finally translated in full onto the pitch in the most impressive way.

Launceston looked at times like a different team from the one seen all too often at Polson. Apart from a few panicky, wayward passes the interaction between pack and backs worked like a piece of well-oiled machinery.

The pack was at its cohesive, driving best, particularly the back row and lock Dave Sims, while the half-backs, Richard John and Stuart Alred, varied their game confidently and astutely, while the rest of the backs were constantly seeking work.

Moseley started well enough, their fly-half Oliver Thomas flinging out American-football style passes to his dangerous wings, Nathan Bressington and Andy Gray.

Bressington in particular had a really scorching turn of speed, but the Launceston defence was always up in their faces, except on a couple of occasions and then the danger men almost scored.

That said, Launceston too were in confident, attacking mood and rucked and ran with ferocious purpose. By half-time they were 10-0 up and had stretched that to 21-0 by the hour.

Well-retained possession from the home side allowed John to break the deadlock, the experienced scrum-half shot off the back of a ruck and was away dummying through to the posts before Moseley could do anything.

Alred converted and on the half hour, when Moseley flanker Neil Mason was sin binned for a high-arm tackle, Alred kicked the penalty.

By the 55th minute Alred had landed two more penalties before Launceston were handed the kind of luck that comes to winners - Mason red-carded moments later for persistent infringements on the ground - and the green light came on for the All Blacks.

They took the resultant penalty award as a scrum 10 yards from the posts. The pack drove inexorably over, Williams came up with the ball and the electronic scoreboard bore the satisfying summary - Launceston 21, Visitors 0.

Finally one of Thomas's long-distance passes found Gray in space and the wing ran in unopposed from deep for Thomas to convert. But it was only a blip in the All Blacks' progress.

As injury time approached Moseley rallied desperately, rucking and running frantically but to no avail. Launceston then put the final nail in their coffin deep into injury time when the ball popped out loose from a half-formed ruck on halfway, was hacked on, and then chased and gathered by wing Marc Dibble, who scampered gleefully away to score. Alred converted and it was time to pull the crackers.

Delighted coach Jon Hill said: "I felt that we dictated the pace and the intensity of the game which allowed us to create a lot of opportunities. We played with variety and penetrated well from start to finish. One of our key tactics was to put our forwards into a slightly wider channel and play off 10 rather than nine and so run round the fly-half.

"The likes of Stuart Williams, Nick Burnett and Wayne Sprangle made good yardage in that channel and I also felt that Stuart Alred kicked and linked well. Richard John was also massive behind a pack always going forward. It was vital that we had self-belief, and we did."

Launceston: Andy Birkett, Nigel Simpson, Marc Sweeney, Steve Perry, Andy Matchett, Stuart Alred, Richard John, Keith Brooking, Dave Risdon, Wayne Reed, John Griffiths, Dave Simms, Nicholas Burnett, Wayne Sprangle, Stuart Williams
Subs: Ian Langbridge, Dave Kimberley, Josh Lord, Marc Dibble

Moseley: Alistair Bressington, Nathan Bressington, Darren O'Leary, Paul Cox, Andy Gray, Oliver Thomas, Gareth Taylor, Ben Buxton, Dean Bick, Neil Bayliss, David Hallmen, Richard Stott, Mark Evans, Neil Mason, James Rodwell
Subs: Paul Coles, Adam Caves, Tom Skelding, Chris Holder

24:00 min - Try, Richard John, (Launceston)
24:00 min - Conversion, Stuart Alred, (Launceston)
33:00 min - Penalty Goal, Stuart Alred, (Launceston)
42:00 min - Penalty Goal, Stuart Alred, (Launceston)
55:00 min - Penalty Goal, Stuart Alred, (Launceston)
62:00 min - Try, Stuart Williams, (Launceston)
72:00 min - Try, Andy Gray, (Moseley)
72:00 min - Conversion, Oliver Thomas, (Moseley)
80:00 min - Try, Marc Dibble, (Launceston)
80:00 min - Conversion, Stuart Alred, (Launceston)