Chandler: Restore bruised pride with win

Jason Crabbe returns to the Portsmouth line-up, alongside brother Darren
Jason Crabbe returns to the Portsmouth line-up, alongside brother Darren
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Portsmouth hope to get their London two south west promotion bid back on track against basement-side Camberley at Rugby Camp tomorrow.

The home side will start as firm favourites against a team who have won just once in the league all season, conceding 380 points in the process.

It is an opportunity for the home team to restore bruised confidence levels after a difficult couple of weeks.

Last week’s RFU Intermediate Cup exit at the hands of Brighton followed a thumping league defeat at Guildford.

Coach Ian Chandler admitted he hadn’t seen the Guildford hammering coming but insists his players have to lick their wounds and come back out fighting.

‘We will find out if we are good enough to get promoted in the next few weeks,’ said Chandler.

‘Results have gone for us and it is still all in the melting pot.

‘We know we cannot afford too many slip-ups, though, and certainly not against the lower teams.

‘All week we have drummed the message into the players that they won’t be able to take Camberley lightly.

‘I am surprised they are where they are in the league because they have got some good players.

‘They present us with a potential banana skin and we mustn’t slip up.

‘It is vital that we go out and play our own game.’

Chandler is boosted by the return of three powerful forwards – the Crabb twins, Jason and Darren, along with number-eight Matt Morgan.

They will provide the Portsmouth pack with a greater physicality, while Sandy Duffus reappears on the wing.

The successful run to the London semi-finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup came at a price, though, with Rob Giquel and Tom Hankey picking up injuries.

Andy Barnes and Gareth Richards are also ruled out of tomorrow’s encounter through injury, while young full-back Curtis Barnes is away chasing Rugby League honours.

Barnes is having trials for the English Students’ rugby league side, harbouring an ambition to be selected for the Students’ Rugby League World Cup.

‘Losing players because of our success in the cup is disappointing,’ said Chandler.

‘We have to get on and deal with it because you are always going to have to deal with injuries.

‘For us the key will be going out on to the pitch and playing with the shackles off.

‘When we do that we are a good side but when we get tense we are not so good.’

Portsmouth: Harris, Gee, Chandler L, Carpenter, Duffus, Neville, O’Connor, Sargeant, Houlihan, Cutting, Richardson, Crabb D, Lamont, Morgan, Crabb J.

n United Services host Fordingbridge in a vital Hampshire one top-of-the-table clash at Burnaby Road.

Services will be looking to make amends for their disappointing defeat at the hands of Millbrook, which saw full-back Ben Lanigan suffer a serious injury.

Lanigan had surgery earlier in the week for a broken ankle and leg.

The home side give a debut to Kyle Bond in the second row and have Gregor Irvine, Jake Webster and Will Blackett back from injury.

UNITED SERVICES: Hoskins, Andrews, Cantwell, McAvoy, Doolan, Webster, Irvine, Davis, Blackett, Osborne, Bond, Baltrukenas, Anston, Reed, Burns, Davis, Guyll, Willoughby