SAM CUTTING is back to boost Portsmouth as they prepare to face London one south title chasers Sutton & Epsom at Rugby Camp.
He steps in at a vital time with hooker Greg Hoolihan suspended for two weeks after being sent off at Chobham for over-vigorous rucking.
It gives Cutting a chance to show his quality and claim a place in the Portsmouth side who will take to the field in the Hampshire Cup final at the end of the season.
Coach Ian Chandler is pleased to have the Portsmouth youth graduate back involved after he has been out of action due to work commitments.
He said: ‘It is useful to have someone of Sam’s calibre to come into the team.
‘He came through our youth ranks before departing to Havant for a few seasons to play at a higher level.
‘The lad approached us to come back in the summer and has been a welcome addition to our squad.
‘His experience at Havant will stand him in good stead and he would have been pushing Greg for his place all season – if not for his work commitments.
‘He is a good player and knows his way around the rugby pitch.’
Portsmouth will be looking to cause an upset and gain revenge for a painful defeat in south London earlier in the campaign.
The Rugby Camp outfit led until the final minute before losing with the last play of the game.
Chandler and his team are determined to right that wrong, even though recent results have all but ended their chances of a promotion challenge.
Successive away defeats at Chobham and Old Reigatians have left Portsmouth’s hopes hanging by a thread.
Chandler accepts it is unlikely they can make up the lost ground but insists his men still have still plenty to play for.
He said: ‘We won’t be taking our foot off the pedal.
‘We will keep going until it is mathematically impossible for us to go up.
‘There is also the Hampshire Cup final and players will be wanting to secure their place in that team.
‘So our season remains very much alive.’
United Services host Romsey in a Hampshire one encounter at Burnaby Road.
‘This is a chance to get back to winning ways and an opportunity to look at some new young players,’ said coach Simon Burns.
‘Ever the optimist, we can still achieve a second-place finish, though third is probably more realistic.
‘This is a tough league to get out of and we have lacked consistency.
‘The players are good to work with and it is enjoyable.’
Promising newcomer Kit Wapsott retains his place at outside-half and Mike Channing gets a debut in the centre.
Andy Tart replaces injured captain Will Blackett.
In Hampshire two, Southsea Nomads host Ventnor at Furze Lane.