Max Boyce is set to make his home debut for Gosport & Fareham in their re-arranged London one south game against Tottonians at Gosport Park tomorrow (3pm).
The Royal Navy rugby league player keeps his place in an abrasive midfield after doing well in his first appearance at Dover.
Boyce, who has not played much rugby union in the past few years, gave an added physicality to the visitors’ midfield.
Although the Blue & Golds suffered yet another away defeat at Dover, coach Neil McRoberts felt his team were unlucky to lose.
‘We are still without an away win but for the first time I felt encouraged by the performance last weekend,’ he said.
‘I felt we could easily have picked up our first away win of the season.
‘Our midfield presented a solid wall every time Dover tried to go up the middle.
‘Tottonians will try to do the same so it will be important that our midfield of Max Boyce, Kieron McRoberts and Wayne Dugan repeat their strong performance.
‘Our opponents have done well this season and have a simple game plan which they execute well.
‘The core of their side have also been together for a few years now.
‘We must make sure that we get into their strong areas early, particularly the fly-half channel, to nullify their game.
‘It is important that we build on the foundations laid at Dover.’
Ben Lanigan returns to the front row after being rested and the home side are also able to field a very experienced back row.
Ben Madigan is available again and, along with fellow wing-forward Tim Snowden, will provide a destructive force.
At number eight the hosts can call on the vast experience of Chris Thompson.
The back row will have an important role to play if the home side are to get back to winning ways.
McRoberts reckons the next three games will go a long way towards deciding his team’s fate.
They are currently sitting third from bottom – five points behind Dover but with a game in hand.
Three teams go down at the end of the season but the situation is confused a little by the RFU’s decision to relegate Medway due to player registration irregularities.
McRoberts refused to let that affect his teams’ focus.
‘Medway are appealing against the RFU so we can’t rely on that,’ said McRoberts.
‘We have six games left and we don’t want to finish in the bottom three.
‘Our next three games, two of which are at home, are crucial to us.
‘What we don’t want is to be going into our last three games, all of which are tough, with the pressure on.
‘It is vital that we pick up points sooner rather than later.
‘If we put in another good performance it will give us a chance against Tottonians.
‘We need to start well and show more precision when chances come along.’
Gosport & Fareham: Sam Foster, Rory Penfold, Wayne Dugan, Max Boyce, Jack Brawn, Kieron McRoberts, Wes Dugan,
Ben Lanigan, Caleb Kingi, Danny Gamblin, Ben Roberts, Max Page, Ben madigan, Chris Thompson, Tim Snowden. Replacements: Trevor Westerman, Anthony Reynolds, Ian White