Portsmouth playing for pride in dead rubber

Portsmouth visit fellow mid-table dwellers Effingham & Leatherhead for their final away game in London Two South-West this season.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 8:30 am
Luke Richardson, above, is an injury doubt for Portsmouth Picture: Malcolm Wells

Though there is little at stake for both teams visiting coach Ben Dudley is keen to see his team maintain their winning run.

‘We are at the stage where both teams are safe from relegation and cannot gain promotion,’ said Dudley.

‘In many ways this game is a dead rubber.

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‘Another three points will guarantee us fifth place and if we win our final game we might even sneak fourth spot.

‘I am expecting the players to go out there with that in mind.

‘We have been safe for a while now but I have been pleased with the mindset of the players.

‘They have stuck to their task and remained committed.’

Dudley is forced to make a number of changes but doesn’t believe his side are weakened by them.

With Andy Barnes unavailable, Gareth Richards returns at outside-half.

In the forwards Rob Giquel is unavailable and Luke Richardson is still struggling with an injury.

‘I think we have acquired greater depth in our squad and that helps us deal with making changes,’ said Dudley.

‘It also makes the prospects for next season look exciting.’

Dudley can be pleased with his first year in charge at Rugby Camp where for the last few seasons the city club have been battling at the wrong end of the league.

United Services Portsmouth have a quick opportunity to turn the tables on rivals Trojans in London Three South West.

The Southampton-based club knocked Services out of the Hampshire Bowl last weekend and director of rugby Matt Davis is hoping his side has learned from that.

‘After opening up a 25-0 lead in the opening half-hour we expected to go on and win the tie,’ said Davis.

‘During that period we stretched their big side by moving the ball quickly around the park.

‘Unfortunately we then allowed ourselves to get dragged into an arm-wrestle and their was only going to one winner after that.’