S&C rugby reporter William Payne takes a slow reporting look back at a powerful play in the Pompey vs London Exiles match on 29th October.
After an excellent performance over the weekend, PRFC made it to 10th in the league after a convincing away win over worthy opponents London Exiles. Even though the players had a long journey to Barnes and were up against a good side, they managed to find the power and push over the line to get the crucial points.
After a slow start with a few penalties going our way, Curtis Barnes fell short due to a knock on, the score being held at 0-0.
The following Exiles scrum then saw them play effective moves along the pitch, resulting in them bundling over, making it 7-0 in the 14th minute after a successful conversion.
23 minutes in and with a good kick and chase from the lineout, Jackson Clark put Darren Crabb in to make it 7-5, adding with the successful conversion, 7 apiece.
The London Exiles came back with a quick response, scoring a drop goal which made it 10-7 in the 28th minute.
Once again the Portsmouth lads dug deep just before the break, gaining multiple scrums on the 5 metre line of the Exiles, yet with valiant attempts to drive the ball over from No.8 Damian Gibbs and the rest of the pack, the Exiles defence managed to hold them out until the break. Half time, 10-7.
Considering the Exiles are higher up in the table, Pompey should certainly be proud of the fight that we gave in the first half. Again with rallying talks from the coaches and players in the changing room, PRFC would have dug deep and been set for the second half.
After a missed kick at goal from the Exiles, Barnes managed to clear the ball up field and after a good chase and slap-back, PRFC executed a nice play, ending in Stewart Davies crossing for a try in the 51st. With the conversion missed, Portsmouth led 10-12.
With more pressure coming from Portsmouth, Damian Gibbs managed to catch a kick, charged forward nearly 15 metres before offloading to Anthony Fooks who went over in the corner, increasing the lead to 10-17.
After more and more pressure from Portsmouth, they then managed to get a penalty right in front of the posts, this time Morgan being successful making it 10-20 in the 65th.
Unfortunately with skipper Luke Richardson shown yellow for pulling down a maul, Portsmouth were now a man down. With the Exiles having the upper-hand, the resulting scrum saw them gain a penalty try just under the posts. This was then converted making it 17-20 with 10 minutes left.
As always in rugby, the panic sets in, especially with one man down in the final 10. However with great resilience and defence, Portsmouth managed to keep out the Exiles, ending the game at 17-20.
After an unfortunate loss the previous week to London Cornish, a good win on the 29th helped Portsmouth to climb up to 10th place. To be able to hold out a team higher in the league with 14 men shows amazing strength and passion, both of which came into play against Twickenham RFC in the next match.
More to follow.