No margin for error as Portsmouth aim to ‘stop the rot’ in London 3 South West

Neil McRoberts is expecting a 'do or die effort' from Portsmouth on their visit to Old Georgians in London 3 South West.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 1:26 pm
Noah Cannon, right, moves to outside centre for Portsmouth this weekend

After three successive league defeats, they need a win to revive their flagging promotion ambitions.

The senior coach insists performance levels have been good without getting the rewards.

He knows there is little margin for error against their third-placed hosts.

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Portsmouth are seven points behind in fourth place and can ill afford to fall further behind the top three.

The home side have lost only once this season and will present a daunting challenge.

McRoberts, though, is backing his team to do the business.

'We certainly need to stop the rot in terms of results,' he said.

'Losing three successive league games certainly hasn't been ideal.

'It is not as if we haven't been playing well, it’s just that we haven't been getting the final bits right to win games.

'We need to improve our accuracy, particularly in the final third.

'The team were given a harsh lesson in this against Reeds Weybridge.

'Both teams had a similar number of chances to score but we only converted a handful.

'First and foremost, we must make sure our focus and concentration is maintained throughout.

'We cannot afford to switch off.'

The visitors are forced to make a number of changes due to injury, work commitments and unavailability.

Mark Ovens moves from full back to replace the unavailable Kieran McRoberts at outside half, meaning youngster Sam Olie reappears at full-back.

McRoberts is also excited by the prospect of winger Noah Cannon moving to outside centre.

'Noah has proved he is a devastating runner when he gets space. Moving him to centre will give us the chance to get him on the ball earlier.'

Tom Hopkins fills the vacant wing berth, while in the forwards there is a fitness doubt over captain Daz Leggat.

'It should be an entertaining game between third and fourth,' said McRoberts.

'We see it as an opportunity to get our confidence back by beating one of the top teams.'

Old Georgians’ ground is unavailable so Portsmouth will have the added bonus of playing the game on Ealing Trailfinders’ Championship pitch.

'After the muddy pitches of the last few weeks this should encourage good running rugby,' said McRoberts.

'That is something we will want to embrace.'