Exciting to see Tim Snowden back in Portsmouth shirt

Portsmouth got the better of Petersfield earlier in the league. Picture: Neil Marshall
Portsmouth got the better of Petersfield earlier in the league. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Neil McRoberts is excited by the prospect of seeing Tim Snowden back in a Portsmouth shirt.

The experienced back-row forward is set to make his debut against Petersfield in the Hampshire Bowl at Rugby Camp on Saturday (3pm).

McRoberts regarded it as a real coup when he managed to lure Snowden away from Gosport & Fareham in the summer.

The Portsmouth head coach said: ‘Tim was with me at Gosport and is a fantastic rugby player.

‘He is actually a Portsmouth lad and played for the club when he was younger.

‘Then he moved across the water and was a stalwart and captain at Gosport Park.

‘His energy is terrific and he just keeps going for 80 minutes.

‘Also his aggression and ability at the breakdowns will prove a real asset.

‘He is a great rugby tactician so will give us both brawn and brains.

‘Up until now he hasn't been able to feature because of an injury he picked up playing for Hampshire at the end of last season.

‘What he will give us with his experience is another leader out on the pitch.’

McRoberts is hoping Portsmouth can use the cup-tie to get back in the groove after not managing to keep their league run going.

He was disappointed to see his side lose their unbeaten record against Warlingham in their last game.

Portsmouth were set to face a difficult weekend of having to fulfil two cup games at the same time.

Their task was made easier, however, when opponents Tellingly withdrew from the competition the senior vase.

It means McRoberts can focus all his resources on trying to beat Petersfield for the second time this season.

The two sides met on the opening day of the London three south west campaign at Rugby Camp with the home side running out narrow winners.

Though Petersfield have struggled since then, failing to win a game, McRoberts insists Portsmouth can't afford any complacency.

He added: ‘We won't be taking anything for granted.

‘Petersfield showed in our first meeting that they are a young, energetic, fit side.

‘We struggled to suppress them for 40 minutes.

‘They will be coming to us with nothing to lose.

‘If we don't focus and concentrate then we can easily come unstuck.

‘We have to see it as a chance to put things right after losing for the first time.

‘The players are keen to put it right and they know they didn't show enough aggression defensively.

‘They will also be looking to produce better ball retention at the breakdown.'

Apart from Snowden the home side also welcome other experienced players back in their ranks.

Up front prop forward Ben Lanigan will shore up the scrummage and present an added ball-carrying option.

Matt Farnes, with his stacks of National League experience with Worthing, fills the key outside-half position.