Big Match Preview by Glyn Barlow
“Which Moseley side will turn up to play Leeds on Saturday?”
Well Santa came late for Moseley supporters last week, with possibly the biggest surprise any of them have had over Christmas as the team took on third placed London Welsh, at Old Deer Park, and came away with the spoils.
Not that this victory had anything to do with the big man in a red coat, but to fifteen men in red and black shirts (OK red, black and white as it was an away game) who played as though the previous week’s loss to London Scottish had never occurred. Even more surprising was that there were twelve changes in the side from the one which faced the Exiles on Boxing Day. It is the Scottish game therefore that has proved to be the anomaly with Moseley having now won three of the last four Championship games.
Key to the win, apart from the commitment of all on the pitch, was the impressive defence which held a Welsh team that has scored forty five tries this season to just the one. Organisation and leadership on the field was transformed from the previous week.
This Saturday sees the visit to Billesley Common of Leeds Carnegie a club which has returned to the Championship after two years away in the Premiership. Undoubtedly the competition has been tougher than when the club was last in this league as an indifferent start initially left Leeds languishing in the relegation places. However recent good home form has propelled the Yorkshiremen up the table to a respectable sixth place today.
In a bid to strengthen the chances of returning to the Premiership fly half George Ford has been acquired on loan from Leicester and centre Jordan Davies and scrum half Will Cliff moved from Sale. Ford was nominated as IRB World Junior Player of the Year and is the youngest player to have taken part in a professional rugby match aged 16 years and 237 days
There should be no extra incentive needed on Saturday after the last minute loss in the reciprocal game at Headingly in October left the Moseley players feeling that there is some unfinished business and that this is a game that they can win. However to do so, they must play with the same dedication and commitment which they displayed last week. If they can close down the talented Leeds back line early on, and the forwards can turn in another commanding performance then we should see the home teams exciting backs hitting the try line themselves.
And so things remain very interesting as to how Moseley will finish the season. Will a Promotion playoff berth be achieved? Mathematically it’s still possible as there are thirty points available with a twelve point gap between Moseley and next placed Doncaster.
Whatever happens its certainly going to be an intriguing game on Saturday with two much improved teams from the earlier encounter. Let’s hope another important win is forthcoming and the first game of 2012 is as pleasurable for the Moseley Faithful as the last one of 2011.
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