Changes to be made as Gosport target safety

Return: Dai Whitehead
Return: Dai Whitehead
Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

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Gosport & Fareham will make three changes to their starting line-up when they entertain Effingham in London South West Two (2.30pm).

Prop-forward Dai Whitehead and winger Ryan Thorne are available again and number eight Matt Flower has recovered from the ankle problem that kept him out of the defeat at Twickenham.

Thorne’s return has enabled the powerful Wayne Dugan to be switched from full-back into the centre so that Pat Mulholland can return to the wing.

Alex Heron will also return to full-back from the wing.

Last week’s bench comprised three Richards – Lloyd, Rigby and Daly – but the senior trio make way for youngsters Ash Wakefield, Callum Paterson and Ben Madigan.

‘We are targeting the next three games to produce good performances,’ said director of rugby Jamie Daly.

‘The aim is to get enough points to ensure our safety in this league for another season and allow us to look forward.

‘We have three tough games at the end of the season so the next three fixtures are very important, especially as two of them are against teams below us in the league.

‘The match at Effingham was very tight and we had chances to win it so I would like to think that playing at home gives us an advantage in this one.

‘But three weeks ago, Effingham produced the season’s biggest upset by beating Guernsey convincingly so that shows they are a good side because no-one else has beaten Guernsey over there this season.

‘I’m hoping we get a big crowd to cheer us on because this is a very significant game in our season and a good crowd with plenty of vocal support always lifts the players.’

Gosport & Fareham: Heron, Thorne, Dugan Wayne, Moggeridge, Mulholland, Duncombe, Dugan Wes, Burton, Clark, Whitehead, Pollard, Westerman, Snowden, Reynolds, Flower, Wakefield, Madigan, Paterson.

n United Services are in Hampshire Cup action on Sunday when they take on Solent University.

The Services are in good form having won three of their past four games, including an outstanding defeat of third-placed Millbrook last week.

‘We will be fielding a full first team for what is likely to be a tough match against the university,’ said Services coach Neil McNamara.

‘Our opponents are a mystery to us but safe to say that Uni rugby tends to be played at a high tempo.

‘Therefore, it will be important for us to exert pressure on their pack early on to disrupt any momentum they will look to achieve with quick ball.’

United Services: Hoskin, Palmer, Willoughby, Wagstaffe, Brawn, Rea, Irvine, Haslam, Davis, Moyse, Little, Beaumont, Di Marco, Thomson, Chance, Matthews, Banner, Kirkpatrick, Doolan.

n Petersfield host Old Alleynians in London South West Three and in Hampshire One struggling Fareham Heathens host league-leaders Andover.

In Hampshire Two, Southsea Nomads visit Overton.