Portsmouth aim to keep Twickenham dream alive

Luke Richardson. Picture : Habibur Rahman
Luke Richardson. Picture : Habibur Rahman
England Women players celebrate victory after the 2017 Women's World Cup, Semi Final match at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Picture: Brian Lawless/ PA Images

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PORTSMOUTH are back on the Twickenham trail as they travel to meet Charlton Park in the regional semi-finals of the RFU Intermediate Cup.

A win would take them within two games of an end-of-season showpiece final at RFU headquarters.

A number of the Portsmouth players were members of the Hampshire side that featured at Twickenham last season.

On that occasion they beat Staffordshire in the final of the County Championship Plate.

If they are to progress Portsmouth will need to improve upon their recent performances in the league.

Three successive defeats have left them on the fringes of the London two south west relegation zone.

They have reserved some of their best performances for the cup however.

And team will travel with high hopes of getting through.

Hosts Charlton Park are currently third in London two south east and will be a tough nut to crack.

Portsmouth director of rugby Nigel Morgan is hoping the team can raise their game even though they have some key men not available.

He said: ‘Our situation isn’t helped by unavailability, mainly through injuries.

‘Fortunately we do have a few influential players returning at the same time.

‘If we are going to get through then we will have to improve on our performance against London Exiles.

‘It is important we play our rugby for 80 minutes and not just in spells.

‘Certainly our defence will need tightening up.

‘And we will have to ensure we make our first up tackles.’

Curtis Barnes, Luke Richardson and Darren Crabb are out injured.

Luke Peters, Tom Whitehouse and Dan Neville are all unavailable.

The visitors are hoping to include former Worthing outside-half Matt Farnes.

His experience of playing National League rugby could be very helpful.

Full-back Stuart Davies and centre Gareth Richards could return to the squad.

Portsmouth will also give a debut to prop forward Adam Parks.