Portsmouth face day of destiny

Portsmouth front row, from left, Ian French, Greg Hoolihan and Benjamin Cumins Picture: Allan Hutchings

Portsmouth front row, from left, Ian French, Greg Hoolihan and Benjamin Cumins Picture: Allan Hutchings

Joel Knight has a bad injury. Picture: Keith Woodland

Joel’s serious foot injury is big blow as Havant chase play-off spot

  • Portsmouth must better of equal Farnham’s result to avoid drop
  • Rugby Camp club at risk of dropping out of London Two south west
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PORTSMOUTH face a day of destiny as they travel to Old Alleynians on the final day of the London Two south-west season.

The Rugby Camp club know a bonus point win will be enough to keep them up ahead of relegation-rivals Farnham.

At least our destiny is in our own hands and we have to go all out to get the result we need.

Ian Chandler

Anything less and Portsmouth are likely to be overtaken by the Surrey club, who host Effingham & Leatherhead tomorrow.

The importance of the game isn’t lost on coach Ian Chandler, who challenged his side to ‘go all out’ to get the victory they require.

‘We have to match or better Farnham’s result and that isn’t going to be easy,’ said Chandler.

‘They have a better points difference than us so if we finish level on points we will be relegated.

‘At least our destiny is in our own hands and we have to go all out to get the result we need.

‘We have to believe that we can do it, although we are under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task.

‘Old Alleynians are a team who give you a chance in that they score and concede a lot of points.

‘Last season they thumped us but two years ago we got a bonus-point win on their ground and must look to repeat that.’

Chandler is boosted by the return of captain Rob Giquel to the second-row 
– and his line-out expertise could prove crucial.

The forwards, including experienced hooker Greg Hoolihan, have been his side’s main strength 
and they must look to stifle the amount of possession the home side get.

Portsmouth also showed in their last game the determination to defend for their lives.

That is a quality they will need to display again against an Alleynians side who will run ball at them.

‘We will need to show the same backs-to-the-wall defending that got us our win over Old Reigatians,’ added Chandler.

If Portsmouth can stop the home possession at source, the coach believes his team possess enough 
fire-power of their own to hurt their hosts.

But the weakness this season has been the inability to make the most of their opportunities when they have been on top in games.

Portsmouth know they will get no second chances tomorrow and will have to be at their most clinical.

Chandler said: ‘This is the biggest game for the club for a long time.

‘We don’t want to go down to the next level, which would put us in the same league as United Services and two leagues below Havant and Gosport.

‘That might put us at a disadvantage in trying to attract players.

‘It is important that we give this game everything we have got.

‘There can be no excuses after Saturday – we have to do the business.

‘If we get what we need it doesn’t matter what Farnham do.’

PORTSMOUTH: Cantwell, Jones D, Gates, Richards, Tuivata, Neville, Morgan C, Cummings, Hoolihan, French, Giquel, Heffernan, Long, Hill, Morgan M. Replacements: Clark, Smith, Ovens

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