Ater a more comfortable match when the Knights could enjoy themselves away from league pressure, they defeated Cardiff 34 – 10 last Sunday. Hopefully the Knights can take some of this more positive, relaxed style of play into their league games and try to beat Matt D’Arcy’s record of the quickest try scored this season.
As a reminder, this season it doesn’t matter if you finish at the bottom of the Championship as long as you don’t come last amongst the bottom 4 teams in the relegation play-offs. The Knights are currently in the relegation play-offs but 1 point away from the promotion play-offs, with 2 games in hand. Of the 3 teams battling the promotion play-off spot (Moseley, Plymouth Albion and the Knights), Moseley have the tougher run-in on paper, so they’ll probably be the bookies favourites for the relegation spot with Rotherham Titans, Coventry Blues and Birminham/Solihull Bees. Mathematically the Titans aren’t definitely in the relegation play-offs but so far this seaon they’ve won about 1 in 4 games.. With Nottingham, Coventry and Bedford to play, the’re unlikely to win at least 2 of those but...
It was consideed by some that Bees gave up early in the season after a 15-point penalty by the RFU but now many are noticing them upping their game. With their 16 new signings this year, the Bees are becoming an unknown quantity. They lost their first game this year heavily to Bedford 10 – 49 but a week later they drew against the Cornish Pirates! The following week they lost by 27 points to Rotherham Titans but then by only a point to Moseley.
Last time the Bees played, Coventry beat them 24 – 7, yet we beat Coventry 7 – 27. 13 days earlier Moseley only beat the Bees by a point in Moseley. It was the previous week that they drew with the Cornish Pirates. It seems evident is that they are upping their game this year in preparation for the relegation play-offs.
The Bees’, Simon Hunt (right wing) is their top try scorer and their top kicker, therefore top points scorer, in fact Hunt has scored nearly 30% of all of the Bees’points. Mitchell Culpin (centre), Cameron Mitchell (centre), Chris Brightwell (flanker) and Ronnie McLean (left wing).then follow Hunt as the Bees’ leading try scorers.
Definitely belying the Bees league position, Simon Hunt (Bees right wing) is the Championships 11th top points
The Knights are now above the Bees on their try count, with the Bees being last (Knights have an extra game to play over the Bees).
The Bees have leaked 45% of their tries against at home and the Knights have scored 52% of theirs away from home. The Bees forwards have only scored 4 tries and all of these have been by the back row (flankers in this case). Try scoring tends to be by wingers (36%) and half of all tries have been scored in the last quarter. Try leakage is fairly even throughout the game and is dominated by the back row, followed by wingers then centres. The Bees have had 10 penalty tries scored against them (ave. over a penalty try every 2 games), this is nearly 1/3rd of the whole Championship penalty try count.
These stats point to Hunt being the main danger, followed by other wingers (Hunt has scored ½ of the wingers tries) then centres and then flankers peeling of scrums and recycling the ball after a tackle. In particular the Bees are really buzzing in the last quarter, which on its own indicates commendable fitness. Areas of opportunity tend to be throughout the game and by position; the back row dominates but also the penalty try count is high, so perhaps their forwards could be dominated. If not the ball can be shipped to the wingers or centres.
The Bees are generally a team that any team would relish playing but you might play the team that drew against the Pirates or scored 36 points against Bristol, so be prepared for anything.
Will the game see the Knights move from the relegation play-off zone to the promotion play-off zone or will it see the Bees improve on their draw against the Pirates and have their first win of the season? The game, being held at Moseley, is yet another huge game for our gallant Knights.