Ian Chandler praised his forwards after they provided the platform for a hard-fought 35-20 London one south win over basement side Sutton & Epsom at Rugby Camp.
The Portsmouth head coach watched his pack, who had been bullied out of the game at Chichester before Christmas, respond in the right fashion with an aggressive, all-action performance of their own.
Wing forwards Rhys Bowen and Matt Peters were immense in the loose as the club’s pack shone brighter than the three-quarter line for once.
Three of Portsmouth’s five tries were scored by forwards, with a penalty try and one from outside half Andy Barnes completing the tally.
‘I can’t ask for more than a bonus-point win to start the second half of the season,’ said Chandler.
‘We looked a bit rusty at times – not having played for three weeks – but we were worthy winners.
‘Our forwards not only gave us a good platform but they also finished well when the try opportunities came along.
‘To be fair, Sutton came and gave it a good go because they knew it was last-chance saloon for them.
‘They worked hard with the wind behind them in the first half but we still turned around 13-8 up at the break.’
Barnes put the home side ahead with an early penalty before the south London side replied with a try in the corner after concerted pressure.
With their pack starting to dominate, Portsmouth hit back with two tries of their own before half-time.
Number eight Luke Richardson picked up and crashed over from a close-range scrummage.
And after the forwards controlled the ball for five or six phases, Barnes strode through a gap to score. The home side stretched their lead with further tries from Harry Cripps and Dan Sargent in the second half.
But then Portsmouth slipped into their old habit of allowing the opposition back into the game.
‘We committed two silly errors to gift them two tries, said Chandler.
‘And that gave them 12 points they didn’t deserve.
‘It is important we learn to cut out the mistakes. Once we did that we pulled away again.’
Portsmouth were awarded a penalty try in the closing stages to complete the win which took them up to ninth in the table.
‘The performance was pleasing overall and gives us lots to build upon,’ said Chandler.
‘We played with two open side wing forwards.
‘And Bowen and Peters ran around all afternoon to great effect.
‘If we continue to play like this then we should achieve a top-half finish come the end of the season.’