Portsmouth end Long wait for win

Adam Long scored the winning try. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132911-6431)
Adam Long scored the winning try. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132911-6431)
Havant full-back Ben Chambers. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181102-1)

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Sid Street revealed a back-to-basics approach saw Portsmouth kick-start their season with a 19-12 triumph over Old Colfeians in the RFU Intermediate Cup at Rugby Camp.

The club’s first victory of the season came after six straight league defeats.

This time last year the side put a run of seven losses behind them with a cup success.

Portsmouth then went on a 12-game unbeaten run and soared up the table.

And Street is hoping Saturday’s win will see them turn the corner again.

He said: ‘This was a massively-important win for us.

‘With a couple of hard league games ahead of us this gives us a badly-needed boost.

‘We have been threatening to do this for a while and if we had played like this in our last four games we would have won them.

‘The key was going right back to basic rugby without complicating matters.’

In a tight opening 20 minutes Portsmouth scrum-half Bobby Owens missed an early penalty in front of the posts.

In the forwards Darren Crabbe, Ian French and Ian Douglas gave the home side a physical edge and eventually that told with a 20th-minute opening try.

From a line-out the forwards caught the ball and drove over the line with a number of players claiming the touchdown.

Owens added the conversion to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.

Old Colfeians hit back just before half-time to take their opportunity for a try after working the ball out wide.

Both teams added further tries early in the second half, the visitors converting their score to draw level at 12-12 with 15 minutes remaining.

It was the Norway Road club who used their physical advantage up front to claim the winning score, though.

The forwards again caught the ball at a line-out and drove into Old Colfeians territory where Adam Long powered over from 15 metres.

Owens added the points and Portsmouth were soon celebrating success.

‘Some players put in big performances for us,’ said Street.

‘Adam Long at number seven and Lee Chandler at outside half settled us down a lot.

‘We also had Lee Norman back on the wing from his rugby league duties.

‘The players were told to go out, express themselves and score tries.

‘That is something we hadn’t been doing. Once again we had 70 per cent of the possession but this time we were able to lock things up in the final 20 minutes.

‘We wanted it a bit more than they did.’

Street is away on a course for the next month but Portsmouth have brought in experienced front-row forward coach Jason Ford to fill the gap.