Hoolihan challenges underdogs to spring surprise

113568_RUGBY_08/10/11''(right) Greg Hoolihan congratulates try scorer No.16. ''Portsmouth Rugby football team V Trojans at Rugby Camp, Hilsea.'Picture: Allan Hutchings (113568-182)

113568_RUGBY_08/10/11''(right) Greg Hoolihan congratulates try scorer No.16. ''Portsmouth Rugby football team V Trojans at Rugby Camp, Hilsea.'Picture: Allan Hutchings (113568-182)

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Portsmouth travel to take on Hampshire neighbours Basingstoke looking to cause an upset in London south one.

The fourth-placed hosts have already beaten the city club at Rugby Camp this season, but Portsmouth captain Greg Hoolihan believes his side are now much stronger.

The forwards produced a dominant performance in the win over Sutton & Epsom last week and Hoolihan knows they will need to do the same again.

‘When Basingstoke beat us in the first game they dominated the scrummage and the line-out,’ said Hoolihan.

‘Those are areas we will need to improve but the performance from our forwards last week was probably their best this season.

‘We expect to have to weather an early storm but have every intention of going up there and getting in amongst them.

‘If we can do that and improve the link play between the forwards and the backs, we are capable of getting a result.

‘All the lads are confident they can come away with four points and that is our aim.’

Portsmouth will have to do without their main goal-kicker Andy Barnes who is away. Will Carpenter, who replaces him at outside half, will take over kicking duties.

Steve Gee returns on the wing and Rich Farmer is in for Matt Peters who has returned to university.

‘Rich Farmer is a big impact player and a strong running ball carrier,’ said Hoolihan.

‘He will give us an increased physical presence.

‘We have nothing to lose because we are the underdogs.’

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