BIG MATCH PREVIEW -
by Mike Pollak
After a nerve-tingling, topsy-turvy win away to Rotherham last Saturday, the Moseley players will face their local rivals from Coventry knowing that a try-bonus victory will secure five precious points and banish the threat of relegation from the Championship.
No easy matter – in the match at Butts Park Arena three weeks ago, Moseley turned in a lacklustre performance and managed just three points, against Coventry’s six, a defeat that left the club rooted at the foot of the relegation play-off table.
Coach Ian Smith had a heart-to-heart with his team during a week’s break and whatever was said certainly upped the performance against table-topping Rotherham, even if it wasn’t the full ticket. Moseley played well at the beginning and end of the game, scoring a total of four tries, but, disappointingly, went to sleep in the middle of the game and allowed Rotherham to score 24 unopposed points.
There will be no room for that sort of snoozing on Saturday – it will need a fully-committed, eighty minute performance against a Coventry team whose players are also desperate for points to avoid the dreaded drop.
The position of the four teams in the relegation play offs (Pool C) is currently:
P W L D F A BP P
Rotherham Titans 5 4 0 1 150 104 6 22
Coventry 4 2 0 2 65 89 2 10
Moseley 4 1 0 3 82 89 5 9
Bees 5 2 0 3 120 135 2 8*
* Bees deducted 2 points for fielding an unregistered player
The table shows just how tight things are, with the three Midland clubs knowing that any one of them could be relegated come a quarter to five a week on Saturday.
It will make what is always a highly competitive local derby into a real nail-biter. Coventry will have been boosted by a fine win at Bees on Sunday, where a 38-35 victory was snatched with a late, late try – one of five which the team scored on the day.
Moseley will be aware of the need to subdue Tongan fly-half Fangatapu Apikotoa who put in a gutsy and influential game against Mose at Butts Park Arena, despite being injured during the match.
The results of Coventry’s first four matches in the Pool C play offs are:
March 22nd Rotherham 29 Coventry 3
March 27th Coventry 18 B’ham & Solihull 22
April 3rd Coventry 6 Moseley 3
April 18th B’ham & Solihull 35 Coventry 38
The results of the previous two home matches against Coventry are:
26th Dec 2009 Moseley 26 Coventry 20 Championship
13 th Sept 2008 Moseley 34 Coventry 10 National League
The good news for both Mose and Cov is that whatever the result this Saturday, both teams will know they will get a second chance of securing safety the following week - Moseley will be at home to Bees, with Coventry hosting Rotherham. But the Moseley players will do well to banish such negative thoughts from their minds and focus purely on Saturday’s game.
The weather on Saturday is forecast to be warm and sunny and the firm underfoot conditions should produce a freer style of play than was possible three weeks ago at a cold and wet Butts Park Arena and a quagmire of a pitch. It will be a big surprise if only nine points are scored in this match, as in the previous encounter.
The Moseley crowd can do their bit, too, by getting behind the team for the whole 80 minutes. Last weekend a coach load of supporters travelled up to Rotherham and helped urge on the team to victory. Let’s hope they can lend their collective voice to a similar result on Saturday.
Thanks to Mike Pollak for stepping in while Joe Heaton recovers from an operation - Get well soon Joe!
MOSELEY RUGBY CLUB’S REAL ALE FESTIVAL!
Celebrate or drown your sorrows with the
best of beers!
A full real ale 7s ‘team’ from Marstons
Brewery will be present including:
To receive weekly e-mail updates, sign up for Moseley Matters (Click Here)
First time at Billesley? Read our "Welcome" Page (Click Here)
|For information on gate prices - (Click here)|
|Discuss it on the Message Board (Click Here)|
|Click for Website Enquiries|