Skipper challenges Portsmouth to break duck

Portsmouth skipper Greg Hoolihan. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132911-6554)
Portsmouth skipper Greg Hoolihan. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132911-6554)
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Portsmouth are hoping last week’s RFU Intermediate Cup success will kick-start their London two south west campaign.

The Rugby Camp club defeated Old Colfeians to claim their first win of the season.

And now they are aiming to break their league duck at Effingham & Leatherhead.

The same time last season, Portsmouth went on a 12-match unbeaten run after a similar win in the knockout competition.

Captain Greg Hoolihan is hoping for a repeat – to see his side climb off the bottom of the table.

‘With our opponents just one place above us in the league, this is a big game,’ he said.

‘Our cup success last season spurred us on and we are hoping for the same again.

‘It was a tough game against Colfeians but for once we managed to get over the try line and that made a big difference.

‘In our league games we have been losing late on because we have not pushed home our earlier advantage with tries.

‘We are looking for a win this weekend and anything less will be disappointing.’

Portsmouth have signed winger Shane Thompson from Guernsey but he is unavailable to make his debut.

The visitors are also without forwards Rob Giquel, Darren Crabbe and Ian French.

‘Availability has been a big problem but once we start getting players back I am sure we will be okay,’ said Hoolihan.

United Services coach Brian Saunders has warned against complacency as his side entertain Hampshire one basement side Overton at Burnaby Road.

Services, handily placed just below the top four, will be disappointed if they don’t take the chance to close the gap on the leaders.

‘Complacency is the biggest danger,’ said Saunders.

‘We have created lots of opportunities in our recent games but have to finish them better.

‘This will be a chance to put that area of our game right.

‘We are aware Overton are a physical side and they will have to be matched in that area. The onus will be on us to be quick at the breakdown and produce quick ball.

‘This is a young team and we have the forward capability to provide a platform to express ourselves.

‘We have started the season well and have put ourselves into a good position.

‘There are three important matches coming up and I am looking for us to continue making progress.’

In Hampshire two, Southsea Nomads entertain unbeaten league leaders Petersfield at Furze Lane.

‘This is a big test for us,’ said Nomads chairman Martin Drum.

‘But we have just won four games on the bounce and will go into it in a confident mood.

‘The game will be a good indicator to us as to how serious our challenge can be at the top.

‘We recruited a lot of new players during the summer and for the first time ever have some strength in depth.

‘Now when players are missing it is not so much of a worry.’