Neville targets another Barnes-stormer for Portsmouth

Dan Stoneman is back for Portsmouth
Dan Stoneman is back for Portsmouth
Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

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Portsmouth can achieve London two south west safety by beating Tottonians at Rugby Camp tomorrow (2.30pm).

The hosts have endured a difficult season.

But their thumping win at Teddington last week, inspired by some fine displays including a superb performance from Curtis Barnes, lifted them out of the relegation zone – above Trojans.

The Rugby Camp side, who also have a game in hand over their closest rivals, need just one win to stay up.

‘A win will see us safe,’ said director of rugby Ed Neville.

‘It would be good to achieve it this weekend so we don’t have to go into our final game needing to win.

‘We would like to avoid the pressures that might bring.

‘Having said that, I feel we are capable of winning both games, though Tottonians are a tough proposition.

‘Our players are up for the challenge and are keen to build on our last win.

‘The way we kept our foot on the gas, even though we had the game won, was encouraging. We produced a good team performance to set up a series of good scores.

‘Curtis Barnes scored three and set up two tries but they came through the hard work from the rest of the team.’

Portsmouth are boosted by the return of three experienced figures to their side ahead of the key game.

In the forwards Mark Redding and Dan Stoneman return and in the centre Gareth Richards has recovered from illness.

Against a top side like Tottonians, the added experience will help steady the team at times.

Barnes is available again – he will be looking to repeat his inspired performance.

Fellow hat-trick hero Matt Morgan and three-quarter Dan Neville are unavailable.

United Services bring the curtain down on their Hampshire two season with a visit to Millbrook.

Services fell just short in their promotion bid.

But they will aim to launch another challenge next season.