Determined Portsmouth Valkyries hope to continue their unbeaten start in the Women’s National Championship south-east west division one with a home game against Windsor Ladies at Rugby Camp on Sunday (2.30pm). Coach Mark Witcher is looking forward to the match but certainly won’t be expecting it to be easy.
He said: ‘We will be taking nothing for granted against Windsor.
‘They are a well organised side, and gave us two hard games last season.
‘I expect them to bounce back from a tough league encounter with London Welsh last week.’
Portsmouth are without several key players including skipper Alice Kightley, through work commitments, Amy Dare, Cheryl Goodwin, Sydney Checkley, all with injury, and Sandy Newsham who is serving a suspension.
But Witcher and his coaching team believe this will allow other players in the squad to take the opportunity to impress.
Established players Sophy Roseaman and Abby Reid continue in the back row, while the centre partnership of Georgie Outhwaite and Chloe Stopard-Baker is blossoming.
The Valkyries welcome back scrum-half Charlie Morgan to the squad.
Witcher added: ‘She will enjoy playing behind these forwards.
‘Our scrummage has made real strides in the past few months under the watchful eye of Saracens Loz Salisbury.
‘This showed against a strong Havant pack.’
The Valkyries are currently on top of National Championship south-east west division one having won all three of their games.
Havant Ladies are looking to bounce back after their local derby disappointment by beating Rosslyn Park Ladies at Hooks Lane (2.30pm).
Despite losing coach Dean Dryhurst was pleased with the performance.
He said: ‘I was impressed with the way we kept our discipline in a very heated game.
‘Portsmouth ended up with three yellow cards and had a player sent off.
‘It is our first year at this level and the girls are learning very quickly.
‘I am certain we are on the brink of flipping this league on its head.
‘It was great to see 18-year-old winger Abby Woollett grab a hat-trick of tries in the last game and she is our leading try-scorer.
‘She came through the ranks of our under-18s and the more senior ladies have taken her under their wing.'