MATCH: Moseley 22 v 68 London Welsh. Josh Drauniniu ran in four tries in a ten-try rout of Moseley at Billesley Common as London Welsh leapfrogged Bedford to move up to second in the Championship table. The home side hadn’t tasted victory against Welsh in the league since October 2007 – the Exiles winning all five league meetings since – and had to go back as far as 2000/01 for the last time they humbled the Dragons in Birmingham. That record was never in doubt. Just as against Doncaster a week earlier, Welsh had the bonus-point in the bag before the break thanks to tries from Matt Corker, Josh Drauniniu (2) and Dominic Shabbo to lead 28-3.
Although Anthony Carter and Nathan Bressington struck early for Moseley in the second half, Welsh coasted to victory with further tries from Drauniniu (2), Ben Russell, Errie Claassens, Shabbo and Liam Gibson.
On a chilly day in the midlands, it was the away side that made the early running as Dominic Shabbo claimed Gordon Ross’ reverse kick off. But despite forcing two penalties inside the Moseley 22, Welsh allowed the home side to escape as they knocked on as they looked to set up a driving maul.
Welsh were soon back inside the Moseley 22, though, when Hudson Tonga’uiha crashed through and came even closer when Josh Drauniniu took a great line at pace and beat two tacklers, only for his offload to arrive at Shabbo feet, and again allow Moseley to wriggle off the hook.
The pressure was unrelenting, though, and finally told when Ross prodded another penalty into the corner. Vili Ma’asi and Ben Russell crashed up the middle before Matt Corker stretched to touch down. Ross added the conversion.
On top, Welsh were immediately back in Moseley territory and only an excellent tackle by Andy Reay prevented Shabbo from adding try number two, as the Welsh wing took an inside pass at pace.
Such was the pressure from Welsh every turnover or counter drive by Moseley was being greeted with cheers by the Billesley Common faithful.
It was 17 minutes before Moseley finally got their hands on the ball in the Welsh half, despite playing with the wind at their backs.
Welsh doubled their lead when Corker got up well to force a knock on at a Moseley lineout. From the resulting scrum, the Welsh pack got the drive on before Ben Stevenson released the backs to tear Moseley up. Claassens supplying the final pass for Josh Drauniniu to tease his man before cutting inside and under the posts. Ross converted.
Welsh looked to be in again immediately after when Stevenson broke and fed Tonga’uiha, but the centre’s return pass, looking for his scrum half, drifted forward.
Ollie Thomas got the home side on the board with a well struck penalty, but thoughts of a Moseley revival were quickly snuffed out with another well taken try from Welsh.
Ross’ floated miss pass found Claassens and he drew his man before feeding Shabbo for an easy run in. a try as perfect in it’s execution as it was simple. Ross’ conversion from the touchline extended the Welsh lead to 21-3.
Moseley had one last chance to strike before the break when Shabbo was penalised for side entry, but the resulting lineout on the Welsh 22 was snaffled by Martin Purdy and instead it was Welsh that struck in injury time.
Drauniniu intercepted as Moseley tried to work their way up the right hand touchline and coasted over for the bonus-point score. Ross converted and the Exiles led 28-3 at half-time.
The previous week Welsh had led Doncaster 29-3 only to fail to register a further point in the second half, and allow the Knights to edge their way back into game. There would no such repeat against Moseley, although it was the home side that started the half the better.
A knock on from the kick off gave Moseley good field position and good hands by Reay, Thomas and Michael Maltman set up Anthony Carter to force his way over in the corner. Referee Darren Gamage consulting with his touch judge before awarding the try and Thomas stroked over the conversion.
But Welsh’s response would be quick as Shabbo bounced off the tackles to take the Exiles into the danger area, and number eight Ben Russell had the strength to power over the line. Ross converted but Moseley hit back immediately as their pack rumbled its way up to the Welsh line/.
Dspite some stout defence, the red line red was finally breached when Moseley spread the ball wide, having failed to batter their way over the line, and Thomas combined with Maltman to send Bressington over in the corner.
It was now end-to-end action and Welsh replied through Drauniniu to complete his hat-trick. Drauniniu coming in off his wing to take Nick Runciman’s inside pass from a Welsh line out, and then Claassens got in on the act after Simon Whatling took a ball off his boot laces and found Shabbo to supply the Welsh full back.
It was now close to being a rout and Drauniniu sauntered over for his fourth try – Welsh’s eighth – with Ross adding his seventh conversion to take the lead to 54-15.
Welsh were reduced to 14-men when Russell was adjudged to have tackled Carter early after a fizzing Daniel Robson pass sent Bressington tearing down the wing. Moseley opted for the scrum and Bressington dived over in the corner.
But fittingly it was left to Welsh to close out the scoring as Shabbo cut back against the grain to touchdown after a sustained period of pressure, and Liam Gibson claimed his fourth of the season when he got on the end of Aled Thomas’ deft chip.
Tries: Carter, Bressington (2); Cons: Thomas (2); Pen: Thomas.
London Welsh scorers:
Tries: Drauniniu (4), Shabbo (2), Corker, Gibson, Russell, Claassens; Cons: Ross (9).
Moseley: Nathan Williams, Adam Caves, Terry Sigley, David Lyons, Richard Stott, Mark Evans, Michael Maltman, Michael Ellery, Gareth Taylor, Brad Davies, Ollie Thomas, Andy Reay, Andy Borgen, Nathan Bressington, Anthony Carter.
Replacements: Craig Voisey for Sigley (46min), Yan Thomas for Williams (46min), Paul Spivey for Stott (48min), George Warner for Caves (61min), Daniel Robson for Taylor (67min), Edward Styles for Andy Reay (67min).
Replacement not used: Kevin Maggs.
London Welsh: Errie Claassens, Dom Shabbo, Hudson Tonga’uiha, Simon Whatling, Josh Drauniniu, Gordon Ross, Ben Stevenson, Shawn Pittman, Vili Ma’asi, Lorne Ward,
Martin Purdy, Matt Corker, Dan Williams, Lee Beach, Ben Russell.
Replacements: Epi Taione for Beach (15min), Nick Runciman for Stevenson (45min), Marc Breeze for Ma’asi (60min), Max Lahiff for Pittman (60min), Mike Powell for Purdy (60min), Aled Thomas for Tonga’uiha (61min), Liam Gibson for Drauniniu (61min).
Yellow card: Ben Russell (73min).
Officials: Ref – Darren Gamage; TJ’s Nick Coburn & Steve Leyshon.