Chandler keen to form southern super club

Curtis Barnes is missing for Portsmouth squad this weekend
Curtis Barnes is missing for Portsmouth squad this weekend
Gosport and Fareham on the attack in their win over Farnham / Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Backs-to-wall effort sees Gosport hold what they have

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Portsmouth head coach Ian Chandler believes change is necessary for club rugby in our region to move forward.

Havant’s relegation last season has left the area without a National League team and Chandler feels that is a travesty.

He thinks the time is right to discuss the idea of having one super club in the area with all the others acting as feeders.

The idea has been floated before but clubs have fiercely guarded their independence.

Senior sides Gosport & Fareham, Havant and Portsmouth have struggled to make an impact in their respective leagues this season.

Chandler insists that is because they are all chasing the same pool of local talent.

‘All the clubs have had problems with availability and injuries,’ said Chandler.

‘Gosport and Havant are in a relegation battle and we look like we will miss out on promotion.

‘It begs the question whether the time is right to discuss the idea of a Solent XV.

‘At the moment we cannot sustain National League rugby.

‘But we would stand a better chance if we fed our top players into one club.

‘Then we could create a major force here on the south coast.

‘We also have a lot of our young talent going up to London Irish to further their rugby development.

‘I don’t see any reason why we cannot do that ourselves, because we have the quality of coaches in the area to do it.

‘Most of the players and coaches recognise this needs to happen but club politics are getting in the way.

‘Maybe it is a time for Hampshire rugby to change.’

Portsmouth face problems again as they prepare for a double-header weekend of league and cup rugby.

Tomorrow, the Hilsea-based club travel to Old Reigatians for a crucial London two south west encounter – a game they must win if they are to keep their slim promotion hopes alive.

On Sunday they face Jersey side Les Quennevais at Southampton Trojans in the semi-finals of the Hampshire Cup.

Chandler is forced to go into both games with a squad ravaged by injuries and unavailability.

Up to nine senior players are missing again.

‘To say our resources are stretched to the limit is a huge understatement,’ said Chandler.

‘We will take the strongest squad available to Old Reigatians and then see who we have left for the cup game.

‘Some will have to play two games in two days which isn’t ideal.’

The two Crabbe twins, Luke Richardson, Rob Giquel, Rich Farmer, Matt Morgan, Titch O’Connor, Andy Barnes and Curtis Barnes are all missing from the squad.

Portsmouth: Cutting, Houlihan, French, Redding, Lamont, Prowse-Jones, Fookes, Stoneman, Burgess-Kelly, Carpenter, Fraser, Ancell, Jecks, S Duffus, Whitehouse, Sargeant, Rose-Blade, Gates.