Ian Chandler is stepping down as Portsmouth’s head coach at the end of the season.
Fifty-one-year-old Chandler is taking a sabbatical in order to develop his own coaching expertise before expecting to return to his home club.
The Portsmouth stalwart was disappointed by last season’s relegation from London one south and feels his young side have underachieved again this year.
Chandler believes it’s the right time to step away and spend time recharging his batteries.
He intends to occupy the next 12 months working alongside Brian Saunders at United Services Portsmouth, where he intends to gain greater experience of coach development.
‘I think it’s the right time to come out and practise what I preach,’ said Chandler.
‘I am always encouraging young players to go away and become better players before coming back and passing on what they have learned.
‘Now I am going to do that by working with Brian, who I think is the best local coach around.
‘I want to find out what I need to take my coaching to the next level and then use that to help coach development at Portsmouth
‘I’ve been at the club most Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for the best part of 35 years as a player and coach and it’s time for a break.’
Chandler played his first game for Portsmouth in 1979 after coming through the junior ranks.
He formed one half of the club’s memorable centre partnership with Steve Camero, before hanging his boots up in 2000.
With encouragement from other club stalwart Nigel Morgan, Chandler then moved into the coaching aspects at Portsmouth.
‘I am not leaving the club and all this has been arranged in consultation with them,’ said Chandler.
Portsmouth have captain Greg Houlihan back from suspension as they host Effingham & Leatherhead in a rearranged London two south west game at Rugby Camp tomorrow.
Winger Callum Fraser returns from Exeter University to play and the Hilsea-based club will continue with the experiment of playing Dan Neville in the centre.
United Services Portsmouth take a rest from league action to start their Hampshire Plate campaign against the Isle of Wight at Burnaby Road (3pm).
‘It is another opportunity to see more combinations in our young and exciting side,’ said coach Simon Burns.
After a workmanlike game last week, Gareth Guyll captains the side again, Andy Webster starts at outside-half and Matt Davis comes in on the replacements’ bench.
‘We have a few players out due to work commitments but we’ve people coming back from injury,’ said Burns.
Dave Flynn starts at full-back and James McAvoy moves back into the centre.
Meanwhile, Fareham Heathens entertain Overton in Hampshire two action at Cams Alders.