Moseley will have to make up for what Ian Smith describes as their ‘failure’ against Leeds when another of the National One’s high-fliers visit Billesley Common tomorrow.
Far from being cheered by his team’s pluckily obtained pair of bonus points from last Saturday’s 31-26 reverse, the demanding head coach has charged his men with playing even better against Bedford Blues.
What frustrated Smith most about last Saturday’s nail-biter was not the fact that they didn’t beat the league leaders but that they found a way to do so yet didn’t take it.
With Leeds backed up on their own line for much of the second half, Mose managed to chip away at their 21-5 lead with an attritional forward-oriented approach rather than slicing through it with their rampant threequarters.
With that fresh in his mind Smith has told his players they must be more ruthless when they face a visiting team that has won all of its last seven matches.
“Leeds was certainly winnable. There were opportunities to get the win which we did not take,” Smith lamented.
“We have got to be better. We failed last week so we have got to make sure we learn the lessons quickly.
“That involves seeing the signals and reacting to them. Every team has an inability to cope with something. We have to find out what that is again this weekend.
“We did that against Leeds but we failed to make use of it. I thought we were too narrow when the match ended and looking at the video only confirmed that.”
Such comments, however, do not give credit for the fact that inspired by the ever increasing threat of relegation Moseley have made a habit out of saving their best for when they play the best.
Exeter were famously vanquished last month, Leeds nearly fell flat on their faces and Bedford will also be aware that they are next in the firing line.
Smith at least sees that as a positive. “Any side that is healthy will rise to a challenge,” he said.
“That’s what we done more this season. It’s not always happened with us but now we are getting into the zone mentally where we know we can compete.
“It’s a confidence issue. Once you know you can do these things you should be able to do them again.
“We’ll ask the players to go that extra yard again and see what sort of depths they can reach to pull out a result.”
They nearly did just that the last time the teams met – at Goldington Road in November – when Mose led 15-10 in the dying seconds, only for Rory McKay to crash over next to the posts.
It was a period in their season when the Billesley outfit were relinquishing winning positions with a masochistic zeal and while that tendency has stopped to some extent, last weekend’s events demonstrate it has not been totally eradicated.
“We put their attack under pressure but unfortunately we lost our way and were unable to close it out,” Smith recalled. “Both sides have moved on considerably from then. We were playing with people out of position all over the park and their game has developed too.
“They have some very good backs now and can play with a good deal of width, it’s going to be a very tough match for us.”
Moseley’s cause will be helped by the return of England Sevens international James Rodwell who made up for an awful defensive gaffe in the quarter-finals of the Adelaide event with his first scores for his country as they went on to win the Plate.
There is also positive news on Mark Evans who will not be ready for this weekend but whose knee problem has sufficiently eased to give him a chance of making the National Trophy final on Saturday week.