There were times last season when one would not wish the responsibility for running Moseley’s backs division on the devil incarnate never mind a mere enemy.
So passive were they at one stage it appeared as if the Red and Black threes were as much dazed by their pack’s dominant performances as opposition forwards.
Or perhaps they were frozen in the coldest winter in several decades. After all, it can be pretty chilly standing so still on certain afternoons at Billesley Common.
The problem was at its most acute during December and January when the hoop-shirted ice statues provided just four tries in seven turgid, painful games and Ian Smith’s side was reduced to little more than a good scrum and a decent kicker.
As ever the situation improved when the conditions allowed but not until Callum MacBurnie held his width and scored four tries in the final game of the season did the piano players outshine the piano movers.
And if the evidence of last Saturday’s demoralising home defeat to Esher is anything to go by, normal service appears to have been resumed this term. Once more the scrum was on top but alas the same could not be said for those stood outside it and Moseley lost 29-17.
There is, however, a new name over the door and a pretty famous one at that. Kevin Maggs has arrived at Billesley Common following the departure of Don Caskie, the Anglo-Scot who has thrown his lot in with Georgia.
Caskie bore the brunt of much supporter frustration during the deep midwinter and having already turned down one life-changing offer, to join Andy Keast in Durban, the chance to partner his one-time mentor Richie Dixon in Tbilisi was too attractive to reject.
And so Maggs, who might otherwise have been coaching and playing with rivals Rotherham, has brought his enormous experience from Clifton Lane to Birmingham.
Maggs’ CV is not to be sniffed at. The 36-year-old Bristolian has played 70 times for Ireland, courtesy of his Limerick-born grandfather, often alongside the legendary Brian O’Driscoll in a partnership that combined silk and steel to dramatic effect. Safe to say, the silk was around the Hand of BO’D.
Most of his club rugby was spent at Bath and Bristol although it was with the Titans that he first began to straddle both sides of the white line.
Coaching is where Maggs’ future lies and if the way he and Craig West inspired Rotherham in last season’s play-offs is anything to go by, it should be a bright one.
Though Movalistas expecting a dramatic change in style should not expect the sort of bull in a china shop approach that so characterised Maggs’ best playing days.
“I have got a lot to learn about everyone and the systems that are already in place before I start to tweak and put my slant on things,” he says. “We have a good bunch of guys and good team spirit so at this stage it’s about making us smarter rather than radically different.
“I would not say we were necessarily porous through the centres against Esher, they came through once or twice but it was not directly the centres’ fault.
“One was a system thing where we were too tight and had too many people in the break down, which left them with numbers over. We can look at that.”
Moseley also put themselves under pressure out wide through injudicious kicking – another area both Maggs and Smith will have to eliminate if the mistakes of the previous campaign are not to be repeated.
And of course there is an option open to Maggs that Caskie could not take – he could pick himself. Smith seems reluctant to go down that route just yet, though his new assistant hardly balks at the idea.
“I would be lying if I said I did not miss playing. But for now we have got boys in the squad to put things right.
“And the way I came in late, only three or four weeks ago, means it is better to go with the lads we have got. We’ll have to see what happens down the line.”
MacBurnie in particular, who has tremendous potential but is as raw as frozen sushi, would benefit enormously from playing alongside a man who has appeared in two World Cups and won a Triple Crown. “I am confident we can get over the issues we had on Saturday,” Maggs maintains. “I don’t like losing at anything, let alone rugby on a Saturday because everything is geared towards that.
“The backs are a new unit learning to work together but I will want them to play with confidence and take people on knowing the rest of the guys are going to support them.
“I want them to be confrontational in defence and challenge themselves all the time by playing a good brand of rugby.
“But we have also got to be sensible and do the percentage stuff that, I know all too well, wins games.”
Get the Moseley backs doing that and the horrors of last season will be soon forgotten and MacBurnie and his colleagues could fulfil their potential.