Twickenham chase can inspire Portsmouth to get hat-trick against Battersea Ironsides

Portsmouth are hoping their cup success can inspire them to keep their London three south west promotion hopes alive.

By Dave Brawn
Thursday, 21st March 2019, 2:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 2:21 pm
Portsmouth beat Chelmsford and need to repeat that display on Saturday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (160319-40)
Portsmouth beat Chelmsford and need to repeat that display on Saturday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (160319-40)

A superb win against Chelmsford has taken them into the national semi-finals of the RFU Junior Vase.

It put them just 80 minutes from a first-ever Twickenham appearance.

Their focus, however, now turns back to league matters.

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They travel to main rivals Battersea Ironsides knowing a defeat will kill off their league ambitions once and for all.

Neil McRobert’s side trail their hosts by seven points so ideally need a bonus-point win.

The visitors will take confidence from the fact they have already beaten their opponents twice already this season.

Those matches were both at Rugby Camp in the league and RFU Junior Vase.

Now Portsmouth have to try to repeat their success away from home.

McRoberts accepts it won’t be easy with a much-changed side but hopes the cup vibe can be recreated in the league.

The Portsmouth head coach said: ‘Ultimately this is a bit like another cup game with so much being at stake.

‘Battersea are still very much in the driving seat as far as promotion is concerned.

‘All we can do is go up there, put in another big performance and look to complete a hat-trick of wins over them.

‘Hopefully the impetus from last week’s cup success can carry us forward.’

Portsmouth travel having to change up to half their starting line-up.

Still fighting on three fronts the number of games played is starting to take its toll physically.

McRoberts believes it can provide an opportunity for players trying to get back into the side.

He added: ‘The players are enthusiastic and it is a chance for players to come in to try to win their shirt back.

‘We still have a lot of big games to play in the league and cups between now and the end of the season.’

United Services Portsmouth visit Old Georgians.

Rich Neil’s side are keen to end a run of three successive defeats.

There is a basement battle at Penns Place where bottom two Teddington and Petersfield go head to head.

Southsea Nomads can consolidate their top three spot in Hampshire two by winning at Overton seconds.