Street eyes road to recovery

Portsmouth number-eight Will Phillips Picture: Mick Young
Portsmouth number-eight Will Phillips Picture: Mick Young
Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

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Portsmouth coach Sid Street is refusing to push the panic button after three games without a point in London two south west.

That unenviable record has the Rugby Camp club propping up the table as they travel to Trojans tomorrow (3pm).

But Street and fellow coach Mike Hoban, who have had a baptism of fire since taking over in the summer from the long-serving Ian boss Chandler, won’t let that faze them.

No-nonsense Street is convinced Portsmouth are not too far away from being a winning side and believes they are capable of breaking their duck in tomorrow’s derby.

‘We are not going to be making any knee-jerk reactions just because we have lost three games,’ said Street.

‘Last season we lost our first seven games but ended up in a comfortable position.

‘Obviously, we don’t want to go so long before winning again.

‘It would be nice to get the ball rolling this weekend at Trojans.

‘Our performances have been good in spells and there is certainly no despondency in the club.

‘I am convinced that we won’t be around the bottom of the league for very long.’

Among the positives for the city club is the emergence of young number-eight Will Phillips, who is already proving to be the find of the season.

The home-grown forward, who came through the club’s colts system, has been in the thick of the action and his contribution has shone through.

The 19-year-old – at 6ft 2in and 17st – is an impressive physical presence and hasn’t shown the slightest hint of being intimidated by the step up to senior rugby.

‘Will has gone from being a big fish in a small pond of colts rugby to just being in a big pond,’ said Street.

‘He has taken it all in his stride and we have high hopes for him in the future.’

Phillips has done so well he’s keeping the experienced and highly-effective figure of Matt Morgan out of the side and on the replacements’ bench.

Meanwhile, front-row-forward Ian French has picked up an injury but Harry Cripps is available to take his place.

Street is still also without full-back Curtis Barnes and winger Lee Norman who still have one more week of rugby league commitments.

If Portsmouth are to get the better of Trojans, Street admits his side have to be far more clinical in the attacking third.

‘At Weybridge we must have had about 70 per cent of the possession but failed to take our chances,’ said Street.

‘They scored from four driving mauls but on two or three occasions, when set moves got us to within two or three yards of their line, we failed to convert.

A lot of that was down to inexperience.’