1st XV Match Preview V Cornish Pirates (a) Sat 26/03/2016 

By Glyn Barlow

Dedicated Moseley supporters will be travelling to the Duchy hoping for an “Egg”citing Easter clash with Pirates, but more importantly obtaining some vital league points from the game.

Any trip to Cornwall is a tough affair and it comes just at a time when Pirates will be looking for a return of the form that saw them go through January undefeated, with league wins over Rotherham(21-38) & Ealing (30-15) and cup successes against Nottingham (38-19) & London Welsh (17-35). Since then their only victory has come over Doncaster in the B&I Cup quarter finals 38-19. Cup progress was halted last week by London Welsh who won 36-15.

During this fallow period Pirates have suffered four league losses to Carnegie (33-26), Scottish (21-10), Doncaster (19-26) and Bristol (29-24) leaving them currently 14 points and four league places ahead of Moseley. With a maximum 20 points on offer from the last four games of the season Pirates are not quite out of the woods yet, and will be keen to secure their safety as soon as possible. 

When the two teams came together at Billesley Common in November Moseley obtained a fifth of their league points to date with a four try win, memorable for a Kyle Evans hat trick. To succeed again Moseley need to break the pattern of recent seasons which has seen the home team mainly take the spoils of success when the two meet (although draws are not altogether uncommon in this clash either). Not that we needed to put any more significance on this game but Moseley have never won at Pirates since being promoted.

Whether it is a reflection of their strength up front or not but Pirates do seem more susceptible in conceding tries to backs moves so this should be a clear indication to Moseley to bring the strike runners out wide into play whenever possible. Clearly, after their trip to Billesley they will be aware of the threat Evans poses, so Moseley will need to vary their attacking options well while looking to create space and gaps for the wings to exploit.

Up front the team will need to work hard to contain a robust pack which includes Canadian Internationals Brett Beukeboom & Aaron Carpenter plus Pirates stalwart Laurie McGlone.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (youngsters ask your mum & dad) in these previews the team needs to lift their defensive efforts considerably. The woeful performance at Ealing should now be out of their system helped by a much improved league performance against Carnegie. Last week’s cup defeat to the same opposition cannot be considered a reliable indicator of form as a truly horrendous injury list saw two hookers and coaches Kevin Maggs & Dave Hilton filling the bench spots.

Hopefully the week off has given chances for players to regain fitness and to now go out and give it their all this Saturday.