Dudley calls for Old spirit

Head coach Ben Dudley regards the visit of London Cornish to Rugby Camp as Portsmouth's toughest remaining test in London two south west.

Friday, 11th March 2016, 9:00 am
Simon Morgan

Dudley, however, believes his side are capable of upsetting their second-placed visitors.

He wants Portsmouth to harness the spirit they showed in beating Old Reigatian 21-19 against all the odds in their last outing.

In that game the city club showed their character by fighting back after a disastrous opening eight minutes.

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‘It was a good win but it was the manner of it that was most pleasing,’ said Dudley.

‘We couldn’t have got off to a worst start.

‘After three minutes we had Luke Richardson harshly sin-binned for what we thought was a legal tackle.

‘Then prop-forward Ben Cuming had to come off injured forcing us to reshuffle.

‘Finally, Darren Crabb was sent off for allegedly throwing a punch which we didn’t think was the case.

‘At that point it would have been easy to feel very sorry for ourselves and throw the towel in.

‘Instead, the team worked extremely hard and by half-time established a 14-0 lead.’

Curtis Barnes cut in from the wing to run in a fine try virtually from the halfway line.

Josh Palmer added a second try following a huge Andy Barnes up and under which Tom Chance gathered before putting the winger away in the corner.

All the good work of the first half was undone at the start of the second when the visitors ran in three quick tries to take a 19-14 lead.

‘It looked ominous at that stage but once again we rolled our sleeves up and got our reward,’ said Dudley.

In the final play of the game, Jackson Clark bludgeoned his way over under the posts, with Barnes winning it with the final kick of the game.

‘If we show the same fighting spirit I believe we can continue what has been a successful season with another win,’ added the head coach.

Simon Morgan returns to the side at scrum-half.