BIG MATCH PREVIEW - By Mike Pollak
London Scottish v Moseley
Sunday 2nd October 2011
The Athletic Ground, Richmond. KO 2.00
Gird your loins for this one
Leafy and leisurely Richmond could be anything but serene when Moseley matches up against London Scottish on Sunday – a stroll in the park it won’t be.
While it will be extremely pleasing that one of our traditional fixtures between illustrious rivals will be renewed, both teams will be hell bent on a win to boost their aspirations of achieving at least a mid-table slot by the end of the regular season. If garnering the spoils this weekend deprives either opponent of some precious points, then in the current harsh climate of league rugby, so much the better.
Last week Moseley triumphed in spectacular fashion after the coaches suggested in words of one syllable why the team found itself 13-14 down at half-time, despite having wind and slope advantage.
Their choice words clearly hit home as the Moseley players transformed a lacklustre first half form into an inspired display that saw them power to 35-14 ahead just 25 minutes into the second half. In so doing they proved to themselves – and their supporters – that they can be a match for anyone in this league if they bother to turn up for the full 80 minutes.
London Scottish Rugby Club was formed in 1878 – just five years after Moseley – and has supplied a staggering 220 or so Scottish internationals, not to mention four Lions captains. This compares with Moseley’s 75 international players and only a handful of national captains.
The low point in the club came after the game turned professional in 1996, though initially it competed well in the new era. In fact the Exiles were playing in the Premiership in 1998-99 when the professional club was forced into administration at the end of that season; the original amateur club rejoined the leagues at the bottom, but was effectively demoted nine leagues by the RFU.
With characteristic grittiness, the club has fought its way back up the leagues, gaining seven promotions in 11 years to now take a place in the Championship.
The Scottish celebrated this return to rugby’s second tier with a 16-11 victory against Rotherham in the first game of the new season. Since then, there have been three losses – away to Bristol and Doncaster, and home to Cornish Pirates.
Followers of form might like to note that London Scottish lost 37-28 away to Doncaster, while Moseley lost by a similarly modest margin, 29-21; the respective games against Pirates were equally well-matched – Scottish lost 23-25, with Mose drawing 27-27.
Moseley currently sits one place ahead of Scottish in the table with eight points to the Exiles’ five. Moseley will be keen to build on last weekend’s encouraging form, while Scottish will be aiming to halt a three game losing streak in the League.
It will certainly not be a place for faint hearts at The Athletic Ground. Let’s hope at the very least that the Moseley team turns up in earnest at kick-off this week, rather than at half-time. Whatever happens the return of this traditional fixture will undoubtedly be well celebrated by members and supporters of both clubs in the usual post match analysis in the clubhouse.
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