Twickenham opportunity so close as Portsmouth prepare to face Battersea Ironsides

Portsmouth have their sights set on Twickenham as they host Battersea Ironsides in the London & South East RFU Senior Vase semi-final at Rugby Camp.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 1:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 2:34 pm
Luke Simmons is set to move positions for Portsmouth on Saturday. Picture: Keith Woodland (160219-292)

The club are just two games away from running out at the world famous venue.

To see the full picture gallery from Portsmouth’s win against United Services last time out click on the link at the top of the story or on the icon on the main image.

Senior coach Neil McRoberts believes it is a tremendous incentive for both teams.

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He said: ‘It is an opportunity that doesn't come around very often for players at our level.

‘We beat Battersea at our place in the league earlier in the season but they have gone well since then.

‘They are above us in the league so we are expecting a tough game.

‘We meet again in a couple of weeks in a crucial league match with promotion at stake.

‘I am sure though that this will be more than just a warm-up game for that one.

‘Whoever wins the cup game it won't count for much in the next one.

‘Both teams want to progress and will be keen to get to Twickenham.’

The home side make a few changes from the side that thrashed United Services Portsmouth.

Deadly winger Noah Cannon is away on Dorset and Wilts duties so Luke Simmons moves to the wing from centre.

The vastly-experienced Matt Farnes is on the other wing with Dan Gates coming into the centre.

In the forwards captain Daz Leggat is unavailable but Royal Navy under-23 player Johnny Stoppard returns to the second row.

Jasper Pickersgill reappears in the back row.

McRoberts added: ‘Though we have made changes it doesn't weaken our team.

‘We have to go out and make sure we maintain the standards shown against United Services.

‘Starting the game well and getting some early points on the board again will be important.

‘After that we must try to control the game and impose ourselves on our opponents.

‘It is something we did against Services but must make sure we do every week.

‘We are still in three competitions and it promises to be a busy end to the season.

‘It is now all about momentum and consistency.’