Like Plymouth Albion, Birmingham Moseley is a grand club in rugby folklore who would argue convincingly they are playing beneath their means. Having been relegated to the National One tier in 2016 they have consistently been one of the top teams in the English games third tier since. Very well supported and playing under the direction of former Gloucester stalwart Adam Balding, they are sure to pose a very real challenge in today’s game.
Albion at the Brickfields, however, are a different beast from the team on the road and, with a bumper Brickfields crowd expected, there is renewed hope that the elusive ‘W’ may make it onto the results column. Indeed, barring a stirring comeback last week against promoted side Tonbridge Juddians, Moseley were staring down the barrel of a third straight defeat last week.
Two narrow early season wins over DMP (23-22) and Blackheath (22-20) were followed up with a blowout victory over league new boys Cadly (0-24) before successive losses to Chinnor (22-19) and Cambridge (32-7). Playing a lively brand, one thing is certain for the game – excitement – as both teams certainly like to play with ball in hand!
Central to the Birmingham Moseley attack is former Portugal international, number 8 Jacques Le Roux who is invariably supported by the strong running veteran centre Andy Bulumakau. Rugby fans will no doubt recognise the familiar hair of Ashley Johnson (formerly of Wasps) in the backrow too.
Turning to Albion, and the coaches have made a few changes; the most notable being Tom Putt moving to 9 at the expense of Henry Clement. Speaking of the move, coach Ryan Lamb said “he’s gone really well there and with Henry not being so well, Putts has performed admirably so his success has been his downfall”. He forms a new look halfback combination with Welshman Phil Jones.
Up front, the Albion faithful will also be heartened to see the return of Dan Pullinger from injury. Battling back from a foot injury earlier in the term he forms a formidable front row with the impressive combo of Danny Southworth and Max Norey. In the backrow, new loanee Will Gibson packs down with George Mills and the warhorse Herbie Stupple completes a pack that will be looking to right a few wrongs off the back of coming second best at Cinderford last weekend.
Having played the top five in the league, this is the first mid-table opposition Albion have faced and, although not quite a ‘must win’ expectation is growing that a turnaround on the field is needed soon!
By Chris Bentley, Commercial Manager.