Portsmouth ready to for key battle

Ian Chandler
Ian Chandler
Luke Barfoot will make his 100th league appearance. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant hope normal service will resume at home

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Portsmouth are ready for a battle with Hampshire rivals Winchester in their London two south-west encounter at Rugby Camp.

Ian Chandler’s team need to surprise the third-placed visitors if they are to improve their chances of avoiding relegation.

The Rugby Camp side head into the game third from bottom and nine points adrift of safety.

If his team are to pull off a surprise, Chandler knows they need to show a big improvement on last week’s disappointing defeat at KCS Old Boys.

‘We need to be a lot better,’said Chandler.

‘Against KCS we never got going and were guilty of kicking the ball away too much.

‘That allowed the home side to kick for position and set up try-scoring opportunities.

‘We also failed to take the points when they were on offer by kicking for the corner instead of going for goal.’

Unbeaten Hampshire one leaders United Services are expecting a warm reception at promotion-chasing rivals Millbrook.

The third-placed hosts will be eager to close the 11-point gap between them and their visitors.

‘Millbrook is never an easy place to play and this will be a real test,’ said director of rugby Matt Davis.

‘We won easily at Alton last game out but this will be altogether different.

‘It will be far more physical against fit, aggressive opponents.

‘We are one-hundred-per- cent ready and believe we are capable of coming through it.

‘Being at the top means every team wants to knock us off our pedestal and Millbrook stand more chance than most.

‘To go all season undefeated will be difficult but we will try.’

Services are forced to make one change with Scott Carter coming in at centre for the unavailable Martin Hoskin.

Fareham Heathens can leapfrog fourth-placed visitors Fordingbridge by beating them at Cams Alders.

Heathens lost the reverse fixture by 50 points.

Petersfield are looking to return to winning ways against lowly Romsey at Penns Place.