Preview to Jersey v Moseley


A Bristolian winger called Maggs
Played under different international flags
Like granddad from Limerick
Our Kevin was pretty quick
So for Ireland he soon packed his bags

Directing operations from their respective mission controls either side of the players' entrance, friends and former team-mates Ben Harvey and Kevin Maggs will be looking for their first win of the Championship season today.

If you believe the premature pundits, those people who think the league table doesn't lie even after two matches, then this is a meeting of two clubs in crisis, a relegation eight-pointer. Or is it 10-pointer?

Either way it's a little early - actually make that way too soon - to be jumping to conclusions, although the loser of today's game will be entitled to feel a little gloomy in the face of three straight defeats.

As new boys to the Championship, Jersey may be cut the greater amount of slack, especially having hosted last season's runners-up in the opener, followed by a tough trip to Headingley, and competed well in both games. Moseley's opening day loss to Bedford was described as a 'car crash' in the local paper, and it's hard to argue with a 50-6 scoreline. Like Jersey, Maggs' side improved significantly in their second outing, but ended up empty-handed.

Moseley may think that being away from home takes the pressure off, giving the red-and-blacks nothing to lose and hoping that the home crowd might get anxious, especially in the event of an early score by the visitors.

Jersey's home record suggests that the '16th man' advantage is significant, although some of the winning margins in recent seasons might still have been achieved even without such passionate home support. At Championship level the 16th 'man' - which includes women and kids - could be crucial and the Jersey squad will be counting on some vocal support throughout the game.

News from the Jersey camp
Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey was buoyed last week by the return to action of both Fred Silcock, a summer signing from Loughborough, and Kingsley Lang, and spoke optimistically of a 'cavalry charge' of returning players. Of course this process is a two-way street and the Islanders have also had to cope with the loss of two three-quarters in the opening league games, namely Dai Bishop and Tom Cooper.

Both Bishop and Cooper look set to miss the Moseley game, with Harvey possibly calling on the versatility of Mikey Le Bourgeois to fill the centre berth alongside Donovan Sanders. Ed Dawson could be fit to return to the squad and challenge Ashley Maggs (no relation) for a spot on the wing.

The pack has a seemingly more settled look, although the likes of Silcock, Lang and front row men Dave Felton and Sean McCarthy may be pressing for a chance in the starting XV.

The late-breaking news is that Jersey have signed two new three-quarters. Former Ospreys and Wales full-back Barry Davies will be getting himself sharp ahead of an expected debut later this month, but Ed Tellwright, ex-Rotherham, comes straight into the starting XV. Details of the new signings can be found here.

Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
1 Sean McCarthy
2 Steve Boden
3 Ben Evans
4 Nathan Hannay (capt)
5 Dave Markham
6 Kingsley Lang
7 Guy Thompson
8 Nick Trower
9 Nicky Griffiths
10 Ross Broadfoot
11 James Copsey
12 Mike Le Bourgeois
13 Donovan Sanders
14 Ed Tellwright
15 Glenn Bryce
16 Dave Felton
17 James Gethings
18 Rob Anderson
19 Fred Silcock
20 Talite Vaoileti
21 Brendan O'Brien
22 Ashley Maggs


Who knose about Mose?
The 70-times capped Irish international Maggs arrived at Billesley Common in summer 2010 in a Player-Coaching capacity. The playing side of the role went unfulfilled, even though Maggs was barely older than Ben Evans, but his coaching abilities were quickly evident and 12 months later he was promoted to Head Coach, overseeing a season in which Moseley finished 10th in the league before comfortably avoiding relegation through finishing top of the 'trapdoor league' ahead of Plymouth, London Scots and Esher.

The combined experience of nearly 900 Moseley matches left Billesley Common this summer as Kevin Maggs oversaw the most profound change in Red and Black personnel in a decade.

Record appearance holder Richard Stott, former captain Andy Reay and one-time jewel in the crown Chevvy Pennycook were among more than a dozen front-liners who moved on.

The pack was particularly well-shuffled with Stott and Pennycook just two of five forwards to have made more than 50 appearances before calling time on their Mose careers. That is to say nothing of last term's leading scorer Michael Ellery, the flying loose-forward who hurtled his way to nine tries in 38 outings over two contrasting seasons.

MaggsAnt _adam_adamant Maggs

However, Maggs is adamant he has upgraded his squad in most positions and while many of the replacements are young and hungry, men like Mike Powell and Simon Hunt have been most places and seen and done most things.

Former London Welsh, Ospreys and Bridgend lock Powell will be a particularly important part of New Moseley, bringing, as he does, many years' worth of exposure to Heineken Cup, Magners League and Championship rugby.

The 33-year-old is the most well-versed of Maggs's recruits and his role of shoring up the front five and mentoring the club's other young second rows, Liam Mather and Addison Lockley, is an important factor. He has also been made captain.

"Kevin mentioned the fact he was looking for a bit of experience. Hopefully my experience will rub off a little bit on the younger boys," Powell told the Birmingham Mail. However he missed the opening Championship game against Bedford, when Mose conceded seven tries.

Boosted by Powell's return, and the chance to play on home soil, the red-and-blacks were an improved outfit for their game against Nottingham, leading 10-7 at one stage in the first half. But things went downhill after the break. Full-back Anthony Carter was contentiously red-carded for an apparently dangerous tackle - he has since been banned for a fortnight and misses the Jersey trip - and Nottingham pulled away for a 28-17 win. Simon Hunt and Alex Day scored the tries.

Other players to watch out for in Moseley's colours include two who faced Jersey last season: loose-head Ethan Waller played in both the games against Coventry and Anders Mogenson was at Cambridge and scored a try against Jersey in November. Both players are dual-registered with Northampton, along with scrum-half Day.

Back row man Ben Pienaar moved from Leicester Tigers this summer after making three starts and two substitute appearances last season. The forwards are coached by former Scotland (and Dings) prop David Hilton.

In the backs, watch out for the dangerous line breaks of Charlie Hayter and centre partner Brad Hunt, the finishing of Simon Hunt and Mogenson on the flanks, and the kicking of Glynn Hughes, who landed 50 points with his boot, plus a try, in seven appearances last season. Ollie Robinson, son of Scotland boss Andy, is among the replacements.

Moseley squad:

01. Ethan WALLER; 02.Adam CAVES; 03. Craig VOISEY; 04.Addison LOCKLEY; 05.Mike POWELL (capt); 06.Neil MASON; 07.Ben PONS; 08.Ben PIENAAR

09. Sam BROWN; 10.Glynn HUGHES; 11. Anders MOGENSON; 12.Charlie HAYTER; 13. William ROBINSON; 14.Simon HUNT; 15. Oliver THOMAS

Replacements: 16.Sam WILKES;17. Buster LAWRENCE; 18.Chaz MEDDICK; 19.Oliver ROBINSON; 20. Alex DAY; 21. Brad DAVIES; 22. Brad HUNT

History of Moseley Rugby Club
Havelock FC were founded in 1873/74 and renamed Moseley FC the following season when the club first wore the red-and-black kit, a colour scheme that persists to this day. In the 1880s Moseley took up residence at the Reddings, defeated the touring New Zealand Maoris and had their first England cap JH Rogers. Moseley Wanderers represented Great Britain in rugby in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, losing to gold medallists France in their only game.

Moseley were one of the pre-eminent clubs in England, with a healthy crop of internationals ranging from JF Byrne (13 England caps + 4 for the Lions) in the 1890s to Peter Robbins (19) and England captain Colin McFadyean (11 + 4) in the '50s and '60s.

In the 1970s a raft of players from the club gained England caps including Sam Doble (3) Jan Webster (11) Martin Cooper (11) Barrie Corless (10), Nigel Horton (20) and Keith Fielding (10), and nine Moseley players were in the Midland Counties (West) team that defeated the All Blacks at the Reddings in December 1972.

The most recent England caps from Moseley were Nick Jeavons (14) and Mark Linnett (1) in the 1980s and Mike Teague (27 + 3) during a brief spell away from Gloucester. Many other countries have called on the club's squad; a small selection of these honours includes Scotland (Ian Smith won 25 caps), Namibia (Ryan de la Harpe won 6 caps in 2011) Canada (Al Charron - 76 caps) and even India (Maninder Singh Samra - 4 caps).

In 1982 Moseley reached the final of the [national] John Player Cup, sharing the trophy with Gloucester after a 12-all draw, including extra-time. When leagues were first introduced to the English game, Moseley were in Courage League One for four seasons before being relegated from the top flight in 1991. In 21 subsequent seasons they have been largely found at level two, with the exception of three seasons at level three in the mid-noughties.

Relegation in 2003 followed a difficult spell which included administration in 1998 and the sale of the Reddings in 2000. This was followed by five seasons at the University of Birmingham's Bournbrook facility until they moved to their present site at Billesley Common in 2005 after a proposal to relocate to Oxford's Kassam Stadium had been rejected in 2002.

In six seasons back at level two, Moseley's best finish has been 8th in 2008/09, the season in which the club won the EDF Trophy with a 23-18 victory over Leeds. This was followed by three successful attempts to avoid the drop via the now-defunct relegation play-offs.

Those were the days my friends
Young whipper-snapper Ben Harvey made his Bristol debut in September 1995, joining Kevin Maggs in the side after replacing Kyran Bracken against a Wasps side that included Rob Andrew, Lawrence 'Dayglo', Andy Gomersall and Dean Ryan. Neither Harvey nor Maggs will thank me for reminding them that Wasps won 33-5, or that 'Ronnie' Regan scored Bristol's only points. Other names in the Bristol squad that season included Simon Shaw, Garath Archer, Paul Hull, Jason Keyter, Arwel Thomas and Martin Corry.

Harvey and Maggs played three further games together that season - wins over Gloucester and Orrell, plus a defeat to Leicester - before Harvey moved to Richmond in summer 2006.

The well-travelled Ben played a season at Moseley in 2000-01, making 19 appearances and scoring 181 points, as well as earning the nickname 'suave'. His colleagues included hooker Adam Caves, who has been at Moseley since 1999 with the exception of one season at Gloucester in 2002/03 and is expected to make the trip to Jersey. The nearest rivals in terms of longevity for Caves [whose uncle is Mose Team Manager John] is flanker Neil Mason, now starting his eighth season and with around 170 Moseley appearances under his belt.

Coming to St Peter
Tickets for the match are £15 for adults, £10 for Jersey members on production of a membership card, £3 for juniors (13 to 16 inclusive) and free to those aged 12 and under. These will be on sale at the club shop between 10am and 1pm on Friday. Later on Friday, the Barclays Pavilion will be open for an eve-of-match reception open to all supporters, with the chance to have a pint, enjoy some free nibbles and pick up your tickets. Tickets will then be on sale on the gate from 12noon on Saturday.

Supporters are reminded that no food or drink may be brought into the ground, and also that admittance to the clubhouse will be restricted immediately after the game to members and those sponsors and visiting supporters with the appropriate wristbands. This is a necessary measure to enable the club to keep within the capacity imposed by the Fire Service.

Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v Moseley through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey's 'Sportscene' from 6- 7pm on Friday, and live commentary on Saturday afternoon (available online and on your transistor-wireless device
• Preview in Friday's JEP, more rugby in Saturday's Inside Centre pull-out, and full match coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby forum
• Match report on Channel 103 soon after the final whistle on Saturday, plus updates during the match
• TV highlights on BBC Channel Islands and Channel TV on Monday evening

The Championship this weekend
Friday - Newcastle v Doncaster
Saturday - Bedford v London Scottish; Plymouth v Leeds
Sunday - Bristol v Pirates (live on Sky - KO 3.15); Nottingham v Rotherham

And Finally
A quick look at some local fixtures. Talking of locals derbies, I loved the label attached to the Redruth v Launceston last weekend. Cornwall is called Kernow in the local language, so of course the game, won convincingly by 'ruth, was dubbed 'the Inferno in Kernow'.

So this weekend the JRA League proudly presents: The Rain will [not fall] at Grainville: Banks v St Jacques of Guernsey, Saturday at 11.30am; and The War on Pitch Four: Jersey Athletic v LQ Lydian Lions, Sunday at 3pm (SP4).


Enjoy your weekend's rugby
Tom Innes

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