Portsmouth refuse to rest on laurels

Sully Caucau. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-84)
Sully Caucau. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-84)
Portsmouth director of rugby Jim Pearce. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-24)

‘Upset’ Portsmouth only have themselves to blame

Darren Leggott is set to return from a groin injury. Picture: Neil Marshall (171321-212)

Pearce: Confident Portsmouth must show power

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Jim Pearce will not stop challenging his Portsmouth players.

The Rugby Camp outfit travel to Old Tiffinians in London three south west on Saturday (2.30pm).

Second in the table, Pearce’s men have delivered some powerful performances in recent weeks.

But the head coach will not let them rest on their laurels.

He said: ‘I am still looking for that elusive 80-minute performance.

‘At the moment we are probably around the 65-minute mark.

‘Despite not firing on all cylinders, we are still managing to get some excellent wins.

‘It is all about fine-tuning and improving what we are good at.

‘As coaches we want to challenge the players to improve all aspects of their game.’

Portsmouth are forced to make a number of changes – both in the forwards and the backs.

Darren Leggott replaces the unavailable Gareth Fitzpatrick, while Rob Gicquel is a doubt because of work commitments.

In the backs, Jamie Miller comes in at scrum-half and player-coach Matt Farnes switches from wing to outside half.

Tom Whitehouse, Sully Caucau and Curtis Barnes all reappear in the three-quarters.

Elsewhere, unbeaten Hampshire one leaders United Services take on Millbrook in a top-of-the-table clash at Burnaby Road.

Rich Neil is backing his Services side to go clear at the top.

The two clubs are currently locked on 29 points, one a head of third-placed Bognor.

‘Millbrook have been free-scoring so we will need to make sure we toughen up in defence,’ said player-coach Neil.

‘At the other end of the pitch I am looking for us to be more clinical in our finishing.

‘We have been improving week by week and that is all I can ask for.

‘If we keep doing this then hopefully we can get to where we want to be.’

Services are without full-back Tom Jennings, who suffered a hairline fracture to the leg in the last game.

Jacob Mikurenda is back and will play at outside-half or centre.

In Hampshire two, Southsea Nomads travel to Aldershot & Fleet.

Nomads are determined to build on their excellent 23-23 draw against title-chasing Romsey.

A win will see Ben Horrod’s side leapfrog their hosts into fifth position in the table.