Portsmouth aim to impress legends with derby hat-trick

Will Brock. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-218)
Will Brock. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-218)
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Portsmouth are aiming to make it a hat-trick of derby wins as they host Petersfield in London three south west at Rugby Camp (3pm).

In the past fortnight, the Norway Road outfit have beaten Basingstoke and Southampton Trojans.

There will be a large crowd at Rugby Camp – with the club hosting an ex-players lunch in the clubhouse before the game.

Approximately 120 former players are travelling from all parts of the country to attend the event.

Jim Pearce is hoping his team can provide the icing on the cake by winning.

‘It promises to be a great occasion and it is also the first time we have met Petersfield in a league game,’ said the director of rugby.

‘After losing our opening game we have won the past two and are sitting second in the league.

‘It is important we maintain our focus and keep the momentum going.

‘Losing at Old Emanuel probably wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

‘It showed us just how competitive this league is and that it is not going to be easy.

‘At the same time, it highlighted things we still needed to do.’

Portsmouth make few changes to the team that won well at Trojans.

Will Brock returns at wing-forward after missing the last game.

Brock found himself caught up in the M3 gridlock which left people stranded for hours last weekend.

His return means Anthony Fooks switches to hooker in a pack that more than held its own against Trojans.

Player-coach Matt Farnes retains the outside-half jersey with Andy Barnes likely to be out for some time through injury.

Pearce believes having one of his coaches on the field helps in a number of areas.

‘Matt has a lot of experience of playing alongside centre Gareth Richards at a higher level,’ added Pearce.

‘Having him out there also helps with the organisation and ability to chat to players first-hand.’

Pearce is hoping the presence of so many Portsmouth legends from the past can inspire his team.

A repeat of the performance they delivered against Trojans will give them every chance but Pearce is looking for even more.

‘If we are honest, we left a lot of points out on the pitch,’ he said.

‘We also let Trojans come back at us at the end.

‘It is important we start games better and improve the way we see them out.

‘Petersfield have a good set of forwards and are well coached by Andy Patience.

‘They have also got some more than capable three-quarters in their team.

‘We are setting ourselves little targets and will look at the bigger picture later on.’

Portsmouth: Davies, Barnes C, Caucau, Richards, Whitehouse, Farnes, Duffus A, Parks, Fooks, French, Crabb D, Leggott, Giquel, Brock, Bowen. Replacements: Parry, Houlihan, Chandler L