Portsmouth coach Ian Chandler hopes his side can use their 53-15 Hampshire Cup success over Southampton University as a springboard to surge up the league.
After last season’s relegation, the city club have endured a crisis of confidence, losing their past three league outings.
Part of the problem for Chandler is getting his players to cope with the pressure and expectations in the league.
But a hat-trick of tries from prop Dan Sargeant in the cup tie should help change that.
Chandler now believes his team can reverse their fortunes and join the race for promotion.
He reckons the nine-try spree in the victory against the enemy from the down the road will prove to be the lift they need.
‘This was the perfect exercise for us, ahead of returning to league action,’ said Chandler.
‘The University were better than two of the teams that have beaten us and they kept going right to the end.
‘They kept running the ball which meant we had to be organised defensively.
‘Our players were able to release some of the shackles, though, and knew what was needed.
‘It is vital that we translate this experience into the forthcoming league matches.’
Portsmouth, with their first-choice front-row providing an excellent platform, were rampant.
Rich Farmer (2), Alex Duffus (2), Anthony Foukes and Andy Barnes also crossed for tries, along with the outstanding Sargeant.
Barnes kicked four conversions.
‘We were able to relieve some of the tension and that showed in our play,’ said Chandler.
‘Our tries were scored by forwards and backs which showed that we can still play our expansive game while having other alternatives.
‘We must not allow nerves and pressure to take over when we get back into league action.
‘It must be a case of being efficient and, like in this game, imposing ourselves on the opposition.
‘This game was just what we needed at this time.’