Portsmouth hope for cup spark

Curtis Barnes in action against London Cornish last weekend. Picture: Mick Young (132664-06)
Curtis Barnes in action against London Cornish last weekend. Picture: Mick Young (132664-06)
Havant full-back Ben Chambers. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181102-1)

Knight: Havant will not lack motivation at CS Rugby

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Portsmouth hope the move to knockout rugby will boost their fortunes as Old Colfeians visit Rugby Camp in the RFU Intermediate Cup (3pm).

The Rugby Camp outfit have made a disastrous start to the London two south west campaign.

They are propping up the table after losing their opening five games.

New coaches Sid Street and Mike Hoban are still to find a winning formula.

But chairman of selectors Nigel Morgan is willing a repeat of last season.

‘We lost our opening seven games last season before a win in the Intermediate Cup kick-started our season,’ he said.

‘After that win we went 12 games undefeated and soared up the league.

‘Hopefully we can do something like that again. It hasn’t been easy because the club were decimated in the summer with a large number of our senior squad leaving.

‘None of them went to local clubs.

‘Two went to Australia, four to play at a higher level with Worthing and Basingstoke and six moved away from the area altogether.

‘That is a big shortfall to try to make up.

‘To compound all that we then lost our captain Luke Richardson for the season with a shoulder injury.’

Portsmouth are faced with the difficult task of rebuilding, while trying to maintain their position in the division.

It is a massive challenge for coaching pair Street and Hoban, who took over from long-serving club stalwart Ian Chandler in the summer.

Street admits they might need to re-adjust their game structure to suit the players.

‘Maybe it’s time to strip it back to the basics and make sure that we don’t over-complicate things,’ said Street.

‘Cup rugby gives us a chance to try a few different players and adapt our game a bit more.

‘Our biggest failing is still not taking our chances when they come along.

‘Against London Cornish we could have had four tries in the opening half hour and then it is a totally different game.

‘We still led at the hour mark but fell away badly.

‘That has been the story of our season and it is highly frustrating.

‘We cannot afford to do that this weekend in the cup.’

After making his first appearance last week, full-back Curtis Barnes is away as he returns to rugby league duties.

Winger Danny Harris moves into the full-back position after an excellent game last week.

‘We are still comfortable and know a couple of wins in the league will make all the difference,’ said Street.

‘Hopefully a cup victory can spark that.’