Portsmouth are aiming to keep their treble challenge alive

Jim Pearce. Picture: Neil Marshall

Portsmouth continue their challenge on three fronts when they host Datchworth in the RFU Intermediate Vase at Rugby Camp tomorrow (1.45pm).

The city club sit third in London three south west and have genuine title credentials.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth face Trojans in the final of the A Gales HSB Hampshire Bowl final next month.

The focus tomorrow, however, is firmly on the road to Twickenham against a relatively unknown Datchworth side.

The Hertfordshire outfit play at the equivalent level as Portsmouth in London north west three and the two sides face each other for the first time.

Although Datchworth are struggling in their respective division, Jim Pearce is taking nothing for granted.

Portsmouth’s director of rugby said: ‘One of the joys of this competition is having the chance to play new opponents.

‘It is a regional quarter-final and a win could put us within five games of a Twickenham final.

‘Datchworth might be towards the lower end of their league, but form goes out the window in cup games.

‘We are expecting a stern challenge from them.

‘From what we understand, some of their players have paid out of their own pocket to stay in Portsmouth the night before – it shows they are taking the game seriously.’

Portsmouth have been in good form, delivering back-to-back derby wins over Trojans and Petersfield respectively.

Pearce has been pleased with the commitment and desire shown by his troops.

He wants his side to take out the best elements of their past two performances and marry them up.

‘We need to pick the best bits out of our past two wins and put them together,’ Pearce added.

‘The game against Trojans was our most complete performance this season.

‘The players showed a lot of passion, heart and combined it with good teamwork.

‘They also showed the ability to wait for their opportunities to come along and then exploit them.

‘We’re starting to learn we don’t always have to score from the first phase possession.’

Portsmouth are sweating on a couple of injuries but expect to have Greg Houlihan back in contention and could make his 250th appearance for the club.

Meanwhile, Fareham Heathens have arranged a friendly against Southampton University Medics at Cams Alders.

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