Gronow called in to finish revenge mission

Anthony Fooks. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-346)

Pearce: Best is yet to come from Portsmouth

Portsmouth have drafted in veteran winger Matt Gronow for their London one south clash against Chichester at Rugby Camp.

The 35-year-old, one of the club's all-time top try-scorers, has been playing in vets rugby, where he has continued with his prolific finishing.

An injury to Patrick Bion, however, means Gronow gets the call up for his first senior game of the season.

'He is one of the best finishers we have ever had at the club and had no hesitation when we asked him,' said coach Ian Chandler.

The home side are on a revenge mission as Chichester dished out their heaviest defeat of the campaign, to date, thumping the Rugby Camp outfit 53-15 in the reverse fixture.

Portsmouth's forwards took a real battering but coach Ian Chandler believes his young side have learned a lot since then.

'Chichester possess the best pack of forwards in our league but on that day we couldn't field our strongest back row,' said Chandler.

'We also lost Matt Peters to injury.

'But Chichester do play very effective 10-man rugby.

'It will be a contrast of styles because we like to play a running game.

'If our forwards can create a platform and win us enough ball we will win.

'Our young front row have improved bucket-loads and the back is beefed up with two decent second rows.

'I am confident in the ability of our backs to score once they are released.'

Aussie outside-half Mitch Graham is away so 22-year-old Phil Cartmill makes his full debut.

The young Northern Ireland prospect, who is studying on the south coast, went on as a replacement at Sutton & Epsom last week and created both second-half tries.

Peters returns to the side at number eight and, in Darren Crabb and Ian French, Portsmouth will possess a physical presence in their second row.

Portsmouth: Whitley, Gronow, Chandler, Ealey, Gates, Cartmill, Young, Sargeant, Hoolihan, Hankey, French, Crabb, Brock, Fulford, Peters, Long, Carpenter, McKechnie.