Portsmouth aiming for home comforts against Andover

Dan Gates, centre, is back in for Portsmouth
Dan Gates, centre, is back in for Portsmouth
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Ben Dudley is looking for Portsmouth to continue their improvements against Andover in their London two south west contest at Rugby Camp (2pm).

Player-coach Dudley, who took over the coaching reins at Portsmouth during the summer, believes his squad are beginning to put into practice their drills from the training ground.

They gave further evidence of this at London Exiles in their last outing when they picked up their first league win of the season.

Portsmouth are hoping to follow that up with a first home win by seeing off their Hampshire rivals.

‘We fully deserved our win against London Exiles and the final scoreline flattered them,’ said Dudley.

‘Getting that first league win under our belt was important and should boost the confidence in the camp.

‘I am looking forward to us going out and repeating the same level of performance against Andover.

‘Most pleasing is the speed with which the players are learning new things and putting them into practice.

‘We established before the London Exiles game that we had not been looking after the ball well enough at the breakdown.

‘It was something we worked at in training and there was clear evidence of improvement in that area.

‘That is going to be the key at our level because we only have limited time together to work on things.

‘We need to learn quickly and then shift our focus onto the next area.’

Dudley has the luxury of being able to field an unchanged starting line-up with the only changes coming in the replacements.

Dan Gates is named as the backs replacement, while last season’s captain Rob Giquel is the forwards replacement.

The return of Gicquel to the squad is a big boost for the Rugby Camp side.

He was a leading light in their line-out and is also another leader they can call upon on the pitch.

Dudley insists he isn’t concerned about league positions this early in the season and is more interested in his side’s performances.

‘We have lots of players in our team who are capable of breaking through the opposition lines,’ said Dudley.

‘However we have been guilty of squandering chances when they come along.

‘Now we must look to provide greater support to the players when they burst forward.

‘With greater support we should be able to convert more of our try-scoring chances.

‘We must also make sure that we remain effective at the breakdown.

‘The World Cup has shown you have to be effective in that area if you want to win matches.’

Portsmouth: Curtis Barnes, Josh Palmer, Tom Chance, Ben Dudley, Luke Simmons, Simon Morgan, Sam Ellis, Ben Cuming, Greg Hoolihan, Ryan Wilkie, Darren Leggot, Kieran Heffernan, Luke Richardson, Jackson Clark, Damien Gibbs. Replacements: Chris Nicholls, Dan Gates, Rob Giquel.