Signs are positive in Portsmouth's pursuit to move up London 3 South West - and head coach Gareth Richards aiming to shock rivals Petersfield

Portsmouth head coach Gareth Richards believes his side are taking positive steps forward as they bid to push themselves clear of London 3 South West danger in the early part of 2022.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 6:38 pm
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 6:40 pm
Portsmouth head coach Gareth Richards. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-384)

Richards' second-bottom side returned to action against second-placed Weybridge Vandals and suffered a 24-14 defeat at Rugby Camp on Saturday.

However, the Portsmouth head coach felt there was a lot to be encouraged about with the efforts from his team against high-flying opposition.

And Richards is hoping his squad can show the improvements they are continuing to make as a collective by securing a shock victory at rivals and table-toppers Petersfield this Saturday.

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He said: ‘I think we’re playing much better than we were when they (Petersfield) came to us earlier in the season so hopefully we’ll be able to give a performance and demonstrate how far the team has come. Although the results don’t show it, we have progressed and we’re a much better outfit than we were in October time.

‘We’ve set out that we want to be a bit more formidable at home, we’ve got quite a few teams to come to us with games that we think are winnable, so we’re going to target those. On the road we’ll just ride our luck a bit and see how it goes.’

Lewnnikali Mitieli Ravudolo, making just his second Portsmouth appearance, went over early in the second half as the hosts opened up a 7-5 lead against promotion-chasing Weybridge.

But the visitors produced a run of 19 unanswered points in a 10-minute spell soon after to lead 24-7 with under five minutes to play.

Portsmouth did at least grab some late reward for what was a solid showing overall as Evan Watts went over, but they were still on the end of a 24-14 defeat.