Dudley: Portsmouth to learn from derby defeat

Damian Gibbs touches down for Portsmouth   Picture: Mick Young
Damian Gibbs touches down for Portsmouth Picture: Mick Young
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New Portsmouth coach Ben Dudley remains positive despite his side’s 29-10 derby defeat by Winchester at Rugby Camp.

It was a second successive loss for the Hilsea-based club at the start of their London two south west campaign.

Dudley insists, however, there is evidence to suggest Portsmouth will fare better as the season goes on.

‘I can take a lot of positives from our performance,’ said Dudley.

‘It was never going to be an overnight transformation and it will take time.

‘This young side is very much a work in progress and it might take until Christmas time before we start to reap the rewards of their hard work.

‘We are asking them to do things a little differently and we are embedding in a few new players.

‘At the moment it is a steep learning curve.’

Portsmouth led 10-3 at the halfway stage after playing some good rugby in the opening half hour.

Both teams spent a scrappy, mistake-ridden opening spell feeling each other out.

The two sides exchanged early penalties with Simon Morgan registering the points for the hosts.

Midway through the half, Portsmouth notched the first try of the game following good combination between the backs and forwards.

The pack made good ground through the midfield and moved the ball to the three-quarters who took the move forward.

When the home side recycled quick ball, Damien Gibbs crashed over from 10 yards with Morgan adding the conversion.

‘We gave a glimpse of what we were capable of with that score,’ said Dudley.

‘After that we showed great organisation and brave defence to keep Winchester out until half-time.

‘Luke Richardson and Jackson Clark put in some big hits and we we able to turn the ball over on the ground.

‘That enabled us to clear our lines as Winchester launched a full-on offensive.’

Unfortunately the home side had Anthony Fookes sin-binned just before the break and that proved to be a big turning point.

Winchester exploited their advantage to score two quick tries at the start of the second half.

After that Portsmouth struggled to get back into the game as the visitors used the conditions to their advantage.

‘Anthony Fookes was unlucky to get yellow-carded – it was a case of mistaken identity,’ said Dudley.

‘I think one of our other players owed him a pint in the bar afterwards.

‘Once Winchester opened up their lead we found it difficult to get back on a level footing.

‘There was a slight wind blowing down the slope into the bottom corner,’ said Dudley.

‘They used it to pin us back and keep us under pressure.

‘That was something we hadn’t done anywhere near enough when the conditions were in our favour.

‘It meant that we were not able to establish many good attacking situations in the second half.’