Chandler challenges Portsmouth to show killer instinct

13454-07_MY_PMO_rugby'Portsmouth v Effingham & Leatherhead.'Alex Duffus goes on a run.'Pic Mick Young'16/03/2013
13454-07_MY_PMO_rugby'Portsmouth v Effingham & Leatherhead.'Alex Duffus goes on a run.'Pic Mick Young'16/03/2013
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Ian Chandler reflected on Portsmouth’s 5-0 defeat to Effingham & Leatherhead and declared: We need to be more ruthless.

Defences dominated the London two south west fixture at a windy Rugby Camp on Saturday.

And the evenly-contested affair was decided six minutes before half-time when the visitors crossed for a solitary score.

Portsmouth had two great chances to level the game up in the second half, but they failed to take them, which has prompted Chandler to question their killer instinct.

‘It was a good game dominated by two well-organised defences,’ said the head coach.

‘Both teams withstood periods of pressure with some excellent tackling.

‘We battered their line for a time but they saved themselves with two great last-ditch tackles.

‘The lesson for us to learn is to be more ruthless in attacking positions.’

Portsmouth, who were looking to avoid conceding a league double to their visitors, had the ascendancy in the tight.

The strong wind blowing straight across the pitch made life difficult for both sides, while a fussy referee did little to help.

But on 34 minutes the London visitors broke the deadlock in the stop-start affair with a well-worked try.

They moved the ball for six or seven phases before the winger managed to squeeze over in the corner.

The first of Portsmouth’s two great second-half opportunities arrived when full-back Sandy Duffus made a good break.

With the home defence breached, a try looked on the cards but the final pass didn’t quite go to hand.

The other chance was gone when prop forward Dan Sargent – who has scored more than 20 tries this season – lost possession as he turned to try to place the ball over the line.

‘I think a 5-5 draw would have been a fairer result but we can have no complaints really,’ said Chandler

‘Effingham had a wily, experienced old head at outside half and he controlled the game for them. He played the conditions superbly.’ Although Portsmouth’s promotion chances have disappeared, Chandler insists there is still much for his players to achieve.

The chief is stepping down and taking a sabbatical at the end of the season and would love to depart with some silverware in the trophy cabinet.

Portsmouth are already in the Hampshire Cup final – where they will meet the winners of next weekend’s semi-final between Gosport & Fareham and Havant. The final is at Rugby Camp on Easter Saturday and the players are all playing for places.

Two men to do their cause a lot of good against Effingham were Duffus and second-row Ian French.

‘Sandy Duffus may not be the most gifted technically but he makes up for that with his wholehearted approach,’ said Chandler. ‘Sometimes he can be too brave for his own good.

‘Ian French is one of our more experienced players and he had one of his best games for us.’