Portsmouth chief focuses on positives after winning streak ends

Jackson Clark. Picture: Mick Young (141595-03)
Jackson Clark. Picture: Mick Young (141595-03)
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Portsmouth director of rugby Nigel Morgan believes the hard work of the new coaching team is starting to bear fruit at the Rugby Camp club.

They suffered a 28-20 defeat at Old Reigatians on Saturday.

But the defeat was only the first in their past five London two south west matches.

‘A lot of hard work and planning has been put in by our senior coach Ben Dudley and his assistant Jim Pearce and it is starting to pay off,’ said Morgan.

‘Before this weekend we had won four league games on the trot.

‘A lot of work has been done on our defensive play and that has made a difference.’

However, Morgan admitted Portsmouth were well beaten by a good Old Reigatians team, who took the game by the scruff of the neck from the start.

On a cold and windy day, the home side adapted better to the conditions and outplayed the visitors in the first hour of the game.

Portsmouth were unable to keep hold of the ball and struggled to put any phases of play together.

Technically, the home side were superior.

They scored a number of tries from catch-and-drives at the line-out.

‘We needed the first score in the second half after trailing 21-8 at the break,’ said Morgan.

‘Unfortunately we didn’t get it but then we showed some character by coming back at them in the final 20 minutes.

‘The last quarter was all us but it was too little, too late really.

‘We had a chance to pick 
up a bonus point with a penalty at the death but missed it.’

In the first half, Simon Morgan scored a penalty and Jackson Clark finished off a 70-metre move for a try.

Greg Hoolihan added a second try 15 minutes from the end of the game.

And Ryan Wilkie squeezed over in the corner for a 
third try in the closing minutes.

Meanwhile, United Services slipped to a 19-12 defeat at Old Tonbridgians in London south west three.

Southsea Nomads coach James Clayson was disappointed by his side’s 36-19 home defeat by Fawley in Hampshire two.

‘Unfortunately silly mistakes cost us,’ said Clayson.

‘However, improvements are being made and our forwards did well.’

For Nomads, Jonathon Branston kicked three penalties.

Branston also converted a Toby Cutler try.