Portsmouth must get back into winning habit

Jim Pearce. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Jim Pearce. Picture: Malcolm Wells
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PORTSMOUTH expect to give a debut to Elliott Worrall at number eight as they visit Twickenham in London two south west.

Worrall, who signed for Chichester at the start of the season has been out with a back injury.

He has signed with Portsmouth for the rest of the season in a bid to get back to full match-fitness.

Assistant coach Jim Pearce rates him as a useful addition to the squad as Portsmouth look to plot their survival in the league.

Three successive league defeats have left them flirting with relegation.

With the clubs below them showing signs of improving Portsmouth know they have a fight on their hands.

It is important they are fully focused with some crucial league contests ahead of them.

They also know they need to start matches on the front foot.

‘It is vital we get back into a winning habit as we look to see the season out,’ said Pearce.

‘Now that we have been knocked out of the RFU Intermediate Cup we can focus on improving our league position.

‘We have a number of big games coming up in the next few weeks.

‘Our biggest problem has been making slow starts to games and that is something we have to remedy.

‘We can’t afford to keep giving teams the initiative.

‘In the cup we played well in the second half, especially in the final 20 minutes.

‘We need to do that from the first whistle to give ourselves the best chance.

‘After beating Twickenham earlier in the season we know that they will be up for revenge.

‘It was a close game so we will need to be at our best.’

Apart from the inclusion of Worrall, Portsmouth also make a number of other changes.

Ian French expects to return in the front row.

In the three-quarters Alex Duffs is unavailable due to work commitments.

Rich Higgins, Luke Peters and Tom Whitehouse all return to the squad.

In London three south west United Services Portsmouth continue their battle to avoid relegation at Weybridge Vandals.

Southsea Nomads are in Hampshire two action against Fawley at Furze Lane.

Gosport & Fareham will have their work cut out to avoid another heavy defeat as they welcome London one league-leaders Sidcup to Gosport Park.

The home side are without two of their most influential players, the Dugan brothers, Wayne and Wes.