Pearce: We have to put Vase loss behind us

PORTSMOUTH return to London 3 south west action against Old Tiffinians at Rugby Camp.

Friday, 2nd March 2018, 8:00 am

Director of Rugby Jim Pearce is hoping his side can put their RFU Senior Vase disappointments behind them.

A narrow 26-20 defeat at Old Cranleighans ended Portsmouth’s dreams of a Twickenham final.

Pearce wants his team to bounce back without showing any hangover effects.

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‘We have got to put our knockout defeat behind us,’ said Pearce.

‘With five league games left things can still go our way with regards to promotion.

‘Though we have the toughest of all the run ins the top two sides still have to come to us.There is still much to play for.

‘It is important that we remain positive because there is still a lot of rugby to be played.

‘With Old Emanuel coming to us for the final game of the season it could very easily go to the wire.’

The home team make one change in the forwards with Darren Crabb replacing Jack Easterbrook who drops to the replacements. In the three-quarters Lee Chandler comes in at inside centre to partner Dan Gates, who makes his 200th senior appearance for the club.

Mark Ovens slots into the full-back berth with Matt Farnes reverting to his coaching duties.

‘We lost at Old Tiffinians early in the season,’ said Pearce. ‘That’s something we want to put right.’

Hampshire One leaders United Services Portsmouth view hosts Millbrook as one of the biggest threats to their 100 per cent record.

Player coach Rich Neil is predicting a fierce struggle.

‘Millbrook are third in the league and still have a chance of promotion,’ said Neil.

‘They are likely to throw everything at us. We always expect a rugged challenge from Millbrook. They know how to play their pitch and have an outside half capable of pinning you back in your own territory. We are confident we have the quality and skills to deal with that.’

In Hampshire Two Southsea Nomads visit Farnham.