Now that his Moseley team are back on track, albeit with only a narrow defeat against high-flying Nottingham by way of proof, Ian Smith wants his players to maintain their intensity for this weekend’s match at Plymouth Albion.
Mose have struggled on their travels so far this season, their only win came by way of a scratchy performance at lowly Newbury, and slipped to a humiliating 47-23 hammering at Rotherham the last time they left the confines of Billesley Common.
That defeat was the inspiration for a much better display at home to Nottingham last Saturday and although Smith’s men conceded a last-minute try to lose 26-24 the fact they had troubled National One’s fourth-ranked team to such an extent was a hugely positive response. Mose not only scored three well-taken tries, they defended their line heroically at times and were within a few seconds of winning.
Smith knows, however, that there must be no relapse into the travel sickness that has contributed to Moseley’s line being crossed 17 times in the last two away days.
“It is a shame it takes something like what happened at Rotherham to get a performance like that out of us,” the head coach said. “Now we know we can produce the intensity needed to compete in this division it would be nice if we are able to keep it.
“We had a few weeks when we spent a lot of time on the technical and tactical side of things with a lot of input and discussion. That process can sometimes lead to a bit of relaxation and you can end up thinking you are better than you are. We have responded to that, we are working a lot harder in training now but what we have got to do is maintain that from week to week.”
Smith was largely pleased with his side’s efforts last weekend, particularly the full debut of Ally Muldowney, but as ever the match highlighted areas on which his team need to work.
“It was probably the closest we have come to a full 80-minute performance this season, it was very pleasing in that respect,” he said. “But we gave them field position too easily. As soon as we scored we would endeavour to give them the ball back in our own 22. When they had that ball they came through us quite easily.
“That said, Ally did well. You have to remember that, while other players have had five or six matches to build up, this was Ally’s first start.
“He is a very, very good ball-player but he did some good work around the fringes too. You are looking for a bit of honesty and a high work-rate, Ally brought that and he will improve as he becomes happier in the First Division.”
Smith hopes to have either George Davis, injured at Rotherham, or Ben Buxton back for the afternoon at Brickfields. He also expects the yellow card, wrongly shown to Nathan Williams for an allegedly late tackle on Tim Molenaar, to be rescinded because of a case of mistaken identity.