Pearce ready after making Portsmouth switch from Pumas

Locks Heath Pumas have enjoyed a fine season under Jim Pearce
Locks Heath Pumas have enjoyed a fine season under Jim Pearce
Luke Barfoot will make his 100th league appearance. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Portsmouth’s newly- appointed assistant coach Jim Pearce admits switching clubs was a tough decision.

Pearce was looking forward to taking his Locks Heath Pumas side up into Hampshire one after topping their league as champions.

The 39-year-old, however, was given the opportunity to instead play a big part with the Rugby Camp side in London two south west.

He said: ‘Chances like that at Portsmouth don’t come around very often and I have to take it.

‘Deciding to leave the Pumas was very difficult.

‘They are a great little club and have come on in leaps and bounds in the last three years.

‘Portsmouth offers me a totally new challenge where I can go on and test myself.

‘Senior coach Ben Dudley and I are really looking forward to the challenge.’

Portsmouth won’t be a totally new experience for Pearce, who began his rugby career in the Rugby Camp Colts set-up.

He broke into the first team at the age of 22 and was then spotted by London outfit Rosslyn Park.

After four-and-a-half seasons with Park he returned to the south coast but a serious neck injury forced him to retire at the age of 29.

‘Encouraged by Nigel Morgan and Jason Ford I went straight into coaching,’ said Pearce.

‘I started with the second team and also coached the ladies, before taking on the assistant manager role with the Hampshire side.

‘That year we won the County Championship Plate competition.’

Three years ago Pearce moved to Pumas as forwards coach and then head coach.

He knows he faces a huge challenge at Portsmouth – as he and Dudley follow in the footsteps of long-serving head coach Ian Chandler.

‘I played and coached with Beano (Ian Chandler) and have nothing but the utmost respect for what he has achieved,’ added Pearce.

‘Ben and I have some exciting ideas and are both very enthusiastic.

‘We want to build on the players who are already there and see what happens.

‘Most of all we want to have a team that enjoys their rugby and plays with a smile on their faces.’