Portsmouth not taking Hampshire Bowl win for granted

DETERMINED Portsmouth are focused on lifting the trophy as they host Southampton Trojans in the Hampshire RFU Gales HSB Bowl final at Rugby Camp.

Thursday, 8th February 2018, 5:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th February 2018, 5:58 pm
Portsmouth's Will Brock will be back on duty in the cup final

They will be targeting a hat-trick of wins over their rivals this season after holding sway so far.

Jim Pearce’s side already boast two league wins over Trojans.

But the director of rugby expects it to be tougher with so much riding on Saturday’s game (2pm).

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He said: ‘This is a cup final so league form will go out of the window.

‘Trojans are the current holders so they will be desperately keen to retain the trophy.

‘They will also be intent on exacting revenge for their two league defeats.

‘At the start of the season we beat them in a close game at their place.

‘Our home win in January was a little more comfortable but we are expecting a tight game.’

Pearce wants a big improvement after losing against Warlingham in the league.

The disappointing defeat brought to an end their good winning run.

It was a blow to Portsmouth’s London three south west promotion hopes.

‘It wasn’t so much complacency as a lack of focus that cost us,’ he said.

‘Our pre-match preparation wasn’t the greatest.

‘We have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

‘As a result we weren’t ready for a much improved Warlingham side.

‘We were not prepared for what they hit us with.

‘It also meant we were unable to impose our game on them.

‘I am looking for the players to right the wrongs from the last performance.’

Will Brock returns for the hosts at wing-forward following an ankle injury.

Jack Easterbrook moves into the second row.

In the three-quarters player-coach Matt Farnes comes in on the wing due to the absence of the injured Curtis Barnes.

Dan Gates moves from outside centre to the inside berth with Mark Ovens partnering him.

St John’s College student Matt Chapman, 17, remains on the bench after doing well on his debut.

Jordan Hunter has also returned and is included in the replacements.

It should be a good atmosphere for the contest at Rugby Camp.

‘Hosting a cup final at the club is a big occasion,’ added Pearce.

‘We want the players to make sure they go out and enjoy it.

‘Our aim has always been to get the players to express themselves and play good rugby.

‘This is another opportunity for them to do that.’

Portsmouth: Davies, Farnes, Ovens, Gates, Whitehouse, Richards, Morgan, French, Hoolihan, Wilkie, Leggot, Easterbrook, Brock, Fooks, Bowen. Replacements: Parry, Parks, Crabb, Hobbs, Chapman, Chandler, Hunter