S&C’s rugby reporter Will Payne reports on a particularly joyous victory for Portsmouth RFC as they beat league leaders Southampton Trojans.
On Saturday 23rd, Portsmouth RFC travelled to Stoneham Lane to battle the league leaders and sworn rivals of the club, the Southampton Trojans. Unfortunately, the side was without Andy Barnes this week due to injury, and Will Brock because of traffic problems.
Nice and muddy, the perfect day for rugby kicked off with the perfect start for Portsmouth. Only 7 minutes in and Stewart Davies played the ball to Curtis Barnes who ran through to make it 0-5. Successful conversion, 0-7 Portsmouth.
Only 6 minutes later, the Trojans capitalised on some sloppy defending from Portsmouth, making it 7-7 after 13 minutes. As we saw in the previous match, Portsmouth once again began to give away some silly penalties, allowing the Trojans to score off the back of a scrum. 14-7 to the Southampton side.
Just before the break Alex Duffus scored off the back of a good catch and drive, making it 14-12 going into the second half.
Portsmouth needed to seriously review their play during the break, mainly due to a lack of discipline at the break down. However, the team came back with determination as Whitehouse scored in the corner within minutes, making the score 14-17.
Pompey kept an enormous amount of pressure on the Trojan back line and, perhaps as a result, the Southampton side had two players sent off within 10 minutes. Portsmouth leapt in to capitalise on the opposition’s mistakes; and on 52 minutes, Davies scored with a quickly taken penalty. 14-22 to Pompey.
With 62 minutes played, Greg Hoolihan scored, making it 14-27. Right behind him followed Suli Caucau scoring on the 65th minute, making it 14-32. None of the tries were converted, dropping 6 points, but considering the conditions, this was out of the hands of the kicker.
Portsmouth had reason to feel confident, but league leaders The Trojans weren’t ready to give up and bounced back with their in-form outside centre going over for his second, making it 21-37. But the Pompey side smashed back almost instantly, with Whitehouse going over for his second, making it 21-37 after a missed conversion.
With only 2 minutes to go, it seemed as if the Trojans had nothing left. But once again they hit back, scoring two converted tries to bring the final score 35-37, and a skin-of-the-teeth victory for Portsmouth.
No matter the score, to beat the leaders of the league is a great achievement for Portsmouth RFC, in a particularly hard game. Amazing work and a real victory for the team and the city.
This weekend Portsmouth welcome Petersfield to Rugby Camp for a 3pm kick off. Don’t miss it.
With thanks to Nigel Morgan’s Portsmouth RFC match report for additional information in this week’s Rugby Read.
Photography by Lesley Gicquel.