Kevin Maggs has praised Moseley’s points machine Ollie Thomas after the mercurial play-maker booted his side to a winning start in the RFU Championship play-offs.
Thomas turned in a perfect kicking display in last Friday’s 25-17 victory over Plymouth with seven goals from seven attempts and 20 points in all, as Mose came from behind to secure what could be a vital victory.
That has put them in confident mood as they head to London Scottish this weekend, where a second success would give them an enviable buffer in their fight against relegation.
That match sees the two winners from the first round of games thrown together and the Exiles will be all too aware of the need to maintain good discipline with Thomas in such outstanding form.
Never more so than last week when Maggs made the unexpected decision to field Thomas, who prefers full back or fly half, on the wing for the first time since October 28.
But much to the head coach’s delight the decision paid off handsomely, especially as a last minute Thomas penalty denied Albion a loss bonus.
“He confirmed what we already know about him. He is a talented footballer and a talented kicker and he certainly demonstrated what it means for him to play for Moseley,” Maggs said.
“He was my man-of-the-match. I thought he was outstanding the way he controlled everything, what he can offer the team when he is at his best is outstanding.
“His goal-kicking was outstanding too, those penalties and conversions were very difficult kicks, especially under such pressure, but it did not look like he was ever going to miss.”
Indeed Maggs is pleased with the way the 28-year-old responded after looking as though he might be loaned out earlier in the season.
After that Thomas went the best part of two months without starting a game as Maggs rotated dual registered Northampton Saint Glyn Hughes and Anthony Carter at 15 and Hughes and Brad Davies at No.10.
“He has stepped up in the last few weeks, having not played for a while,which is very good,” Maggs said.
“He was excellent down at Pirates and since the loss of Glyn Hughes he has stepped up to the mark. Glyn definitely brought competition to the squad and Ollie has really responded to that.”
Hughes has missed the last few weeks with a hamstring problem but Maggs hopes to have him available again after this weekend’s trip to the Athletic Ground, where Mose were beaten 37-21 in October.
The Exiles completed the double at Billesley Common on Boxing Day in Thomas’ last game at fly-half.