1st XV Match Preview V Worcester (Home) Sat 02/10/2010 



by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v  Worcester,  RFU Championship, at Billesley Common - Saturday, 2nd October 2010, k. o. 3pm (but come for lunch!)

At long last, after promotion to the Premiership at the end of season 2003-04, Worcester will be coming to Billesley Common to renew a Midlands rivalry with Moseley in a Championship fixture. While the Warriors will be welcome as neighbours and as giving us a sight of a recent Premiership side, for the second week in succession Moseley will be matched against a full time, fully professional XV and replacements. We saw last Saturday at Bedford what that means in terms of fitness and approach when playing slightly below par and injuries occur.

At the time of writing Moseley’s crucial injury and player availability position is not known, but Neil Mason will certainly be absent again with his dislocated rib. Last Saturday Worcester beat Doncaster at home by the unexpectedly narrow margin of 30 – 28, whilst Moseley, after scoring two tries, collapsed against Bedford in the second half after several injuries, to finally lose by the emphatic margin of 12 – 41.

This week has been spent analysing why the collapse occurred and what can be done to prevent it happening again. The acting captain, Andy Reay, has put his finger on the key point. At this level, close to the Premiership, if a team plays with 90% effort it will be punished and injuries and substitutes are no excuses for the whole team not giving 100% plus effort throughout the match. We must wish the coaches and squad every success in this heart searching exercise.

The relative positions of the two clubs in the Championship, after five games are:
                P W D L BP Points Pos
Worcester  5  5 0 0 3  23   1st
Moseley      5  1 2 2 1    9   7th

The Worcester coach is Richard Hill, who succeeded Mike Ruddock on a two year contract at the end of last April. The team Captain is Chris Parnell. During the close season eighteen players left the Club (including Australian International Chris Latham) and eleven new players came to Sixways. In spite of these changes Hill can put out two fully professional sides, with every player having significant Premiership experience.

Worcester will arrive at Billesley Common with benefit of the Premiership cartel £1.5m parachute which would allow the club to pay Premiership level salaries for at least a first season in the Championship. There are mixed views on this outstanding generosity; on the one hand it protects players from precipitate dismissal at the end of the season if the team is relegated (which does beg the question as to why the players should not have a break clause in their contracts for failure), but it leads, as we shall see this afternoon, to a fully professional side dominating the Championship, effectively with a return ticket to the Premiership in one season.

Worcester Rugby Club was founded in 1871 by Revd. F.J. Ede and the first recorded game was against the Artillery in November 1871. The club began playing at Bevere in Worcester in 1954 and left there for Sixways in 1975 when the clubhouse was opened. When the league system was formed the club was placed in North Midlands, Division One, a Level Eight League.
Due to extensive support and the substantial financial resources of a backer, Cecil Duckworth, the club was able to build a strong team. Promotion after promotion followed until Worcester made it to the (then Zurich) Premiership after winning all the games in season 2003-04.

Against most expectations the Warriors survived with the elite, not without scares, until the end of last season, when on 25th April, they were relegated from the Premiership after a 12-10 loss away to Leeds Carnegie, a first relegation in twenty two years. The Moseley players have a major challenge before them on Saturday and they deserve our very best support.

Note 1 - Special Parking for Worcester supporters

Note 2 - Five good reasons to come by the excellent public transport............

Real ale available (in the Marquee located behind the main stand)
Hob Goblin 3.8%
EPA 3.4%
Purity Mad Goose 4.2%
Brakspear 3.4%
Royal Rider 3.8%

Public transport Bus and train details


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