Exciting teen prospect Sam starts for table-topping Portsmouth in Hampshire derby

Portsmouth are ready to take on local rivals Trojans up front in their London Three South West game at Stoneham Lane (3pm).

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 1:02 pm
Updated Friday, 4th October 2019, 11:13 am
Tim Snowdon with the ball

The visitors are the early pacesetters in the league after winning their opening three games.

Senior coach Neil McRoberts believes the forwards can hold the key to maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.

'Trojans are always very powerful up front and we will have to match them,' said McRoberts.

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'We played them three times last season and know from those games that we have to get on top of them early.

'If we don't then they can make it a very difficult afternoon for us.

'They have got some experienced players in their team.

'We must look to impose our game on them from the start like we did in our win against Effingham & Leatherhead last weekend

'It is vital that we start playing from the first whistle.'

The unbeaten visitors make just one change to their team due to the unavailability of full-back Mark Ovens.

Exciting young prospect Sam Olie, 18, starts in his place

Olie is in his first season of senior rugby after coming through the Colts set-up.

'Sam is a tenacious tackler punching well above his weight,' said McRoberts.

'When he gets the ball in hand he is also an elusive runner.'

McRoberts was impressed by the display of his forwards in the last game.

He knows they need to produce more of the same against Trojans.

'In our last game the forwards played intelligent rugby,' said McRoberts.

'Having captain Daz Leggett back made a big difference whilst wing forwards Tim Snowden and Anthony Fooks were dominant.

'The whole pack carried the ball into close areas when they needed to and moved it wide when it was appropriate.

'Collectively we were very good.

'Our aggression at the breakdown allowed us to move tidy ball quickly.

'Once we achieve forward superiority we know that we can then release our firepower outside.

'Though we have made an excellent start we are only three games into the season.

'It is important that we remain grounded and maintain our focus.'