Chandler ponders importance of cup rugby

Ian Chandler. Picture: Mick Young
Ian Chandler. Picture: Mick Young
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Portsmouth coach Ian Chandler was left questioning the importance of cup rugby after being forced to field a weakened team in the RFU Intermediate Cup.

The Rugby Camp club, badly hit by unavailability and late withdrawals, slumped to a crushing 62-0 defeat at London Cornish.

‘It was very disappointing,’ said Chandler.

‘We came second by a long way but it wasn’t surprising under the circumstances.

‘There was a lot of good individual effort but we paid the price for our lack of cohesion.

‘They hit us hard from the start and the game was all over by half-time.

‘The knockout competition doesn’t have the same importance as the league in the eyes of the players.

‘A lot of clubs don’t enter and as a club maybe we need to look where we go from here with it.’

Matt Davis had no such problems as United Services took the first step on the road to Twickenham with a 36-24 RFU Junior Vase win at Kingston.

‘This is a great result for us, particularly as we had five players making their senior debut,’ said the director of rugby.

‘All the newcomers did well. It took us a while to gel but gradually we were able to put our patterns and structures in place.

‘Every time we scored, though, we relaxed and let Kingston back into it.

‘We need to learn at times to work a bit harder if we are to get the wins we need.’

Services gave debuts to Liam Bailes, Kieron Jones, who turned 18 last week, Joe Lynch, James Davies and Miguel Pinetel.

Services led 20-14 at the interval and, although it continued to be a rollercoaster affair, the visitors never felt they were going to lose.

Martin Hoskins, Luke Peters and Kelvin Roberts grabbed tries to seal their passage into the next round.

‘A good cup run can add a different dimension to our season,’ said Davis.

‘It gives us the chance to play against teams we don’t normally come across and allows us to judge where we are in the London division.

‘This game was great for us because it allowed us to blood a number of players.

‘They will only benefit from the experience and gives us a great depth of squad,’