Big Match Preview by Glyn Barlow
And so after a week off we see the resumption of Championship rugby with the visit of Plymouth Albion to Billesley Common on Friday evening.
And it certainly should have been an interesting weekend off for the Moseley squad as the coaches focussed on resolving the issues around recent defensive performances. While nobody could quibble about the scoring of eight tries in the last two matches against “top six” opposition, poor defence has cost the team two vital wins. You can be sure that Kevin Maggs and particularly Craig West (as opposition forwards seem to have profited the most in terms of tries) have been brutally honest with the players and that we should see a defence fired up from the first whistle this week.
Moseley will go into this match in tenth place, fifteen points adrift from the safety of eight position. With a maximum twenty points on offer until the end of the season proper it is still mathematically possible for Moseley to avoid pool C (as is the case for today’s opposition), however this relies on either Nottingham or Doncaster having a disastrous end to proceedings.
So it is likely that Friday’s game will be between two sides destined to face each other twice more in the pool C play offs, which makes this game even more interesting. Clearly for both sides a victory will be vital as each regular season win provides one point in the play offs. At present Plymouth’s six wins compares with Moseley’s five. The additional challenge for both sets of coaches will be that they will of course be going all out for the win, but will not want to show all their cards tonight with potentially more games to come.
ForPlymouthit has been an interesting, and challenging couple of months. The loss of a key sponsor to the club has seen the departure of the coaching team of Peter Drewett and Phil Greening. In addition this has highlighted a significant shortfall in funding to support the club to the end of the season. The Plymouth Directors are actively working on securing the required amount and we wish them every success in this endeavour.
On the playing front the Plymouth squad has been strengthened by the acquisition from Bath of promising dual registered fly half Paul Roberts and the return on loan from Worcester of ex Albion players Sione Tupulotu and George Porter.
Plymouth’s away record is not good and no wins have been achieved so far. However, The Albion will have been bolstered by impressive home wins against Leeds and Doncaster in recent weeks.
At Billesley coaches Maggs and West will be pleased to be able to select from a near full strength squad for the first time in a number of months. With long term injuries to the likes of Ben Pons, David Lyons and Jack Adams now nearing an end, Greg King’s eye injury not being bad as first feared and Dan Sanderson again available for selection the challenge for places will be greater than normal.
For Moseley the formula for a win should be a straightforward one, tighten down the defence while keeping the attacking style that has served the team so well. Let’s get behind the players as they look build momentum towards the playoffs.
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