The Big Match Preview - By Glyn Barlow
And so the last week of the Championship phase one is upon us and a long trek down to Cornwall beckons.
For those fans planning a weekend in the Duchy, there is an interesting game of rugby is on the menu along with the pasties (or should that be Oggies?) and cream teas. If Pirates plans come to fruition this may be one of the last chances for Moseley supporters to visit the Mennaye as an ambitious proposal to develop a £15M, 10,000 capacity “Stadium forCornwall” is underway. The Cornish club could also be playing in the Premiership next season if success is obtained in the promotion playoffs.
Admittedly Cornwall has not proved the happiest hunting ground for Moseley in recent seasons with some heavy defeats being the outcome of visits. The team can expect it to be no easier this time with Pirates boasting an impressive home record this season, with only one loss back in October to Bedford. Moseley will be able to take some positives into the game not least the early season 27 all draw at Billesley Common.
For Moseley this game is important on a number of levels. As the last chance to influence the club’s position in Pool C the players will be looking for one final win to provide a point to carry over, made more valuable since Esher’s surprise win over Leeds last week. Outside of the win, bonus points may be the order of the day. With Moseley currently in 9th place a final home game in pool C is currently a prize worth having (let’s hope however that the team wrap up things before then). With three points currently separating Moseley from Plymouth and London Scottish the odd BP or two could come in handy.
For Pirates the game provides an opportunity to leapfrog Bedford into second place and start on pole position in Pool B. For both teams therefore there is an incentive not to hold back on Saturday but to look for a five point win. So for the supporters it should prove an entertaining game.
The Pirates management has strengthened its squad by the loan signing of England U20 Back Andy Short from Worcester. Pirates’ supporters may view this as some compensation for the fact Worcester signed outstanding New Zealand No8 Blair Cowen from the Mennaye.
Coaches Maggs & West will also utilise this game to finalise the Moseley starting combinations for the Pool C campaign. Despite the defeat last week they will have been pleased by the way a number of players are stepping up, wanting to play a significant part in the next phase of the season. The likes of Jack Adam and Ben Pons, returning from injury will be keen to provide selection headaches of a positive kind for the coaches.
One of the most heartening sights for Craig West last week will have been the packs increasing dominance of theBedfordeight in the scrum, an area that has been somewhat underpowered this season. Credit should be given to the front row players who have worked hard to provide the platform needed to release Moseley’s dangerous backs.
Being realistic last week’s game against Bedford is one Moseley could have won. Defensive errors in allowing players to make too much ground before they were tackled led to two tries being scored. The intensity of defence needs to be stepped up a level against the Pirates in order to ensure prolific try scorer David Doherty does not add to his thirteen tries this season. Playing the game correctly from a territory point of view will also be vital as the Pirates boast the league’s second highest points scorer in kicker Rob Cook.
For Moseley there is nothing to lose on Saturday and it will be extremely challenging to get anything out of the game. But our team does have the capability to deliver when things go well so you never know!
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