'Underdogs' Portsmouth's chance to 'kick-start' season against Petersfield side with some familiar faces

Head coach Gareth Richards is hoping Portsmouth can pull off a surprise result against Petersfield this weekend to fire some much-needed life into their London 3 South West campaign.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 11:10 am
Alex Duffus swapped Portsmouth for Petersfield in the summer. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Portsmouth' s season has not gone to plan so far, losing their opening three league fixtures prior to a week break from action.

Richards believes his men return to Rugby Camp on Saturday as the 'underdogs' to pull off a victory against unbeaten side Petersfield.

But he feels it's the kind of fixture in which if they were to pull off a positive result could provide Portsmouth with the 'kick-start' required to begin putting some wins on the board.

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Richards said: ‘There’s no hiding away from the fact we’re on the back of a few losses, momentum is really important with league rugby, so we’re definitely looking at the game as an opportunity for us to kick-start our season in the way we were hoping we could have done a few weeks ago.

‘It’s good for Hampshire rugby that we’ve got quite a lot of competition at level eight in the area. Petersfield are a difficult proposition for us this weekend, we now they’re going to be on good form on the back of a few good results at their end, so for us we go in as underdogs on the day.

‘Obviously they’ve gone on a start that we were hoping for, you look at the momentum, they’ve got all of it at the moment and we’re struggling a little bit. I'd say going into it they’d be favourites for the game on paper.’

Portsmouth could come up against some familiar faces with props Jackson Clark and Ryan Wilkie, along with Alex Duffus, all swapping Rugby Camp for Petersfield in recent years.

And Richards believes the former Portsmouth trio are part of what will be 'quality' opposition his men will come up against on Saturday.

He added: ‘We know they’ve got a lot to offer, it’s going to be a very competitive game, they’ve got a big, strong front five. We know their props well who used to be with us, both very, very good players playing well below the standard they should be, in Jackson Clark and Ryan Wilkie.

‘Both of them are very, very good and one of our first choice nines has gone there this season - Alex Duffus - he’s moved over there because his dad’s involved with the senior management over there, so there are some familiar faces who are all good quality players.’