Mental strength key for Portsmouth

Darren Crabb
Darren Crabb
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Portsmouth are determined to stay on the winning track when they visit Old Reigatians in London two south-west (2.30pm).

The Rugby Camp club ended their six-game losing run with an important win over Farnham last time out and coach Ian Chandler wants to see them build on that success.

‘Beating Farnham was important to us because it has restored a bit more confidence and self-belief,’ said Chandler.

‘It was much needed and hopefully can prove the turning point to our season.

‘I am hoping we have come through a spell of difficult games when we suffered from injuries and unavailability.

‘We are starting to see greater consistency in the players available and that is going to help.

‘Although we won’t be taking anything for granted, we are going to Old Reigatians with a greater degree of confidence.

‘We still have to go with the correct mental approach.

‘You can be the best player ever but if you are mentally weak it counts for nothing.’

Against Farnham, Portsmouth showed good resilience by coming back from a 15-3 deficit to secure an important win.

Darren Crabb and Adam Long provided a massive physical presence in the forwards, proving dynamic around the fringes and leading the tackle count.

The Rugby Camp side make one enforced change, with experienced winger Dave Jones making a return.

United Services are hoping to give the students of Team Solent a lesson in Hampshire one and maintain their unbeaten record.

Services have their tails up after smashing closest rivals Bognor 36-3 at Burnaby Road.

Coach Graeme Butterworth, however, has warned the league leaders of the dangers of complacency.

‘We cannot afford to think that just because we smashed Bognor the job is done,’ said Butterworth.

‘The students conceded 98 points at Fordingbridge last week but you never know what sort of team they can field.

‘Our job is to focus on our own game and aim to extend our lead at the top.

‘The target is to remain unbeaten by Christmas.

‘We have a set of quality three-quarters who can cause other teams a lot of damage.’

Phil Gilliland slots back in at tight-head prop to replace Joe Lynch.