Portsmouth set to fight fire with fire

Ian Chandler. Picture: Mick Young (112783-17)
Ian Chandler. Picture: Mick Young (112783-17)
Havant full-back Ben Chambers. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181102-1)

Knight: Havant will not lack motivation at CS Rugby

Have your say

Portsmouth have turned to veteran prop forward JP Lamb in a bid to boost their London two south west fortunes against Weybridge Vandals at Rugby Camp tomorrow (2.30pm).

Lamb, 36, has been recalled for the second time this season as the Norway Road outfit look to end a run of three straight league defeats.

Vandals possess a big pack and Ian Chandler is determined to be prepared for the threat.

‘We have selected the biggest boys we have got,’ said Portsmouth’s head coach.

‘Apart from JP Lamb we have also called up Mark Redding and Ian Thatcher.

‘It is probably the biggest set of forwards we have put out so far this season.

‘For this game, I have decided to go with size and experience.

‘JP played for the first team for many years and is captain of our vets team.

‘Technically, he is probably still the best scrummager in our club and that should help us secure good ball we can exploit.

‘He has already played once for us this season and did very well.

‘There are a dearth of good props in our area and sometimes you have to use all the resources available.

‘It has cost me a bit to buy him out of the vets!’

Chandler has been impressed by Ben Cummins and Tom Jones, who have propped in recent games.

However, he feels it is time to take them out of the firing line.

‘It is a long season and we have a duty of care to protect the players,’ said Chandler.

‘The season is a long one and I have to make sure they are still fit in the second half of the campaign.’

Chandler gives a debut to Rob Webber in the back-row following his return from playing a good standard of rugby in Spain.

The home side are also boosted by the reappearance of influential outside-half Dan Neville.

Neville has been unavailable for a period due to his medical duties at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Chandler is hoping to have Neville back on a regular basis.

The coach recognises the impact he can have on the Rugby Camp side.

‘Dan is hugely influential for us,’ said Chandler.

‘He will give us control and doesn’t panic when the going gets tough.

‘Dan will know it might take us a while to wear the Vandals forwards down and that patience may be needed.

‘He will make sure we move the Vandals forwards around.

‘Then we can exploit the pace of the likes of Adam Long, Will Phillips and Webber.’

Although Portsmouth find themselves on the fringes of the relegation zone, Chandler insists there is no need to panic.

‘Our last three games have all been against the top sides,’ said the head coach.

‘Now we are entering a spell of playing teams around us in the league.

‘We are still a young side but I am confident we will soon climb away from danger.’

Portsmouth: Cantwell, Jones, Green, Richards, Ovens, Neville, Owen, Lamb, Hoolihan, French, Redding, Thatcher, Webber, Long, Phillips, Douglas, Clark, Morgan