Pack power provides points for Portsmouth

Jason Clark scores the second try in Portsmouth's win over Andover    Picture: Neil Marshall
Jason Clark scores the second try in Portsmouth's win over Andover Picture: Neil Marshall
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Pack power helped Portsmouth chalk up a second successive London two south west win with a 28-21 success over Andover at Rugby Camp.

The Portsmouth forwards dominated the set-pieces in the Hampshire derby and laid the platform for the victory.

The only concern for player-coach Ben Dudley was the way the hosts club faded in the closing stages.

The win, Portsmouth’s first at home in the league, lifted them out of the bottom three.

‘Our win was built on the back of a solid set-piece performance from our forwards,’ said Dudley.

‘Because of the control established at the set-pieces we were able to stay in charge for large parts of the game.

‘We knew we could kick the ball off the pitch because we were so competitive at the line-out.

‘The referee knew from early on that we had the upper hand in those situations.

‘Overall, it was a really good cohesive team effort.’

After a scrappy opening 20 minutes, Portsmouth grabbed the initiative with a try from Damian Gibbs.

The captain broke off to go over from a five-metre scrum with Simon Morgan adding the conversion.

Andover kicked a penalty but soon afterwards Jackson Clarke broke through three or four tackles for a second Portsmouth try.

The hosts pressed home their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Darren Leggot scored in the left-hand corner from a driving maul.

Andover hit back at the start of the second period but Portsmouth soon re-established their ascendancy.

Greg Hoolihan went over from another driving maul and Morgan stretched the lead to 28-11 with another penalty.

‘Having got ourselves into a good position with 20 minutes to go we let things slip,’ said Dudley.

‘We were guilty of indiscipline and switching off.

‘I suppose as a team we have not been used to being in that position in recent years.

‘It was uncharted territory for us because we are trying to change the losing habit of the last few years.

‘Suddenly Andover increased their tempo and started to get in behind us.

‘It certainly made for a nervy finish and it wasn’t necessary.

‘We have to learn to play for 80 minutes and not just for 50 or 60 minutes in a game.

‘It is all about game management and seeing it out once you get into a winning position.

‘In the end we managed to stay strong and see it out.

‘Still we ended up getting a try bonus-point win so it was mission accomplished.

‘It was pleasing, though we know there are plenty of aspects we still need to work on.’

Portsmouth now have a two-week break before they face the daunting trip to league leaders London Cornish.