Chandler: We need to close games out

Andy Barnes
Andy Barnes
Jim Pearce

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Portsmouth were handed a harsh lesson as they suffered a 28-26 London two south west defeat at the hands of Old Reigatians at Rugby Camp.

The city club almost snatched a win with two late tries but missed a final conversion at the death.

‘It was a marvellous game of rugby but, once again, we suffered from not knowing how to close games out and win them,’ said coach Ian Chandler.

‘We went 13-0 up early on, with our dominant style of rugby producing results.

‘If we’d carried on playing territorial rugby and using our superior forwards we could have been out of sight.

‘Instead, we started to put ourselves in trouble by trying to run the ball from the wrong areas of the pitch.

‘All of a sudden, from being in charge, we go in at half-time with a one-point 16-15 lead, giving ourselves a mountain to climb in the second half.’

In the opening 40 minutes, Andy Barnes kicked three penalties and converted a try by full-back Curtis Barnes.

After the break, though, the visiting fly-half gave Portsmouth a masterclass in how to use the elements.

His accurate kicking game pinned Portsmouth back and, despite some good defensive work, the home side could not keep them out.

The Old Reigatians slippery winger went over for a hat-trick of tries before Portsmouth rallied late on with tries from replacement Adam Long and a second from Barnes.

Portsmouth almost pulled the game out of the bag but Andy Barnes failed to find his direction with his last-minute conversion attempt.

‘We can’t keep being the better side and always ending up losing,’ said Chandler.

‘The lads have to learn the lessons quickly if we want to be challenging at the top.

‘There were enough players out there to know that trying to run the ball against the wind in your own 22 doesn’t make sense.

‘We can’t afford to lose too many games if we are to win the league.

‘I still believe we can do it because of the way we have been playing and the quality of players we have.

‘The performances have been good but we have been far too naive at times.’