The Cornish All Blacks recorded only their second away victory yesterday, but it was their second in a row and the side has now climbed out of the relegation places for the first time this year.
Yesterday's victory was all about defensive power. No fewer than four times, Moseley had the ball in the red zone for concerted efforts only to see try saving tackles, players held up over the line and simply no way through. Their one-dimensional offence was simply not good enough to beat the likes of Larry Ovens, Tinus du Plessis and, particularly, Tim Collier, the on-loan Worcester man who had a superb outing.
On the offensive side, all the All Blacks had to show for their efforts were four penalties (out of four) by Jon Fabian. But these were enough when combined with their defensive might. Even the ever changeable weather failed to dampen spirits. Sunshine and showers might have been how the weathermen would put it, but bright sun, horrendous hail and freezing wind is what we were given.
The opening few minutes were all Launceston. A rumbling rolling maul ambled down field only to fail on three occasions when about 15 yards shy of the Moseley line. Moseley responded but without looking threatening. Traded penalties were all the scoreboard showed at the half.
The start of the second half was enlivened by the only try of the game. A fluffed Ryan Westren drop start (the first of two) was easily fielded by Moseley who put the ball wide to winger Bressington who beat a flailing dive from Matt Jess and skipped round under the posts. Would the floodgates open on the All Blacks?
Well no actually. A penalty from Fabian immediately brought the All Blacks back within a score and solid forward power, together with Moseley indiscipline, did the rest. Two further penalties were enough to win 12-10.
Sure there were scares at the end. Du Plessis was needed to stop the Moseley forwards on the All Black line and a try that could have been given was ruled to have been held up. Late on a penalty chance to regain a one point lead was barely missed. But the final whistle sounded with the All Blacks firmly in the Moseley half and the great escape is surely on track now.
The key to this game was solid defence combined with Moseley's lack of discipline. They had one player sin-binned (it could easily have been more) and gave away four kickable penalties as well as more when they were near the All Black line.
Nest up for Launceston are Bedford next Saturday. It's the last home game and the last chance of a victory (the final week sees us away at unbeaten Northampton). But an All Black win and the right result in the Pertemps vs Sedgeley match and Cornish eyes could really be smiling.
Jon Fabian slots home one of four penalties; Josh Lord on the run; Prop Larry Ovens with the ball; Winger Matt Jess breaks a tackle; Ryan Westren and the team celebrate victory.