The University of Portsmouth Rugby 2nds started their season with defeat against the University of Sussex 1sts, despite an encouraging first half performance at Langstone.
Adam Vallance scored the first try of Pompey’s season to put the home side into a deserved lead, but just before half time a penalty and try put Sussex in front against the run of play. The second half was one way traffic however, with Sussex scoring ten tries and coming away with a 72-5 win.
Portsmouth started brightly with Sussex unable to get out of their own half in the opening ten minutes. On 19 minutes, good defensive work from Portsmouth captain Chris Torley prevented the first score of the afternoon after Sussex threatened with an accurate kick. Torley, however, injured his ankle in the process, and was unable to continue.
Pompey turned their early dominance into points on 24 minutes. After a line out on the right side, the ball was well worked to the left flank to Adam Vallance who put the home side 5-0 up. Nick Trower narrowly missed the conversion.
Pompey continued to play well, but were dealt a blow on 36 minutes when Will Reed was forced off with an injury. A minute later, Sussex put their first points on the board, successfully scoring a penalty and making it 5-3.
The last action of the half saw Sussex putting themselves into the lead for the first time through a try, but with the conversion missed, the game remained tight at 8-5. Pompey were unable to carry their good performance into the second half, with the away side opening up a lead. Three tries in seven minutes, one of which converted, put Sussex 25-5 up.
The visitors now had a foothold on the game and were looking dangerous. Pompey’s defence was being tested by Sussex. Sam Newcombe of Pompey, in particular, made a number of great tackles to prevent a bigger margin of defeat. A further seven tries were scored by the away side, five converted, to conclude a dominant second half performance.
Captain Chris Torley was pleased with his side’s first half display and was confident for the season ahead.“We had a really good first half, and it was unfortunate that in the last minute we let a try in.”
“In the second half we came back out and they were much fitter than we were, they have just come down from the league above as well so it was obviously a challenge. We just need to work on our fitness and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”