Portsmouth came out on the wrong end of a 27-25 score line in a tightly contested and fiercely fought Varsity showdown.
In front of the largest crowd of the afternoon Southampton took an early lead. The home side went 3-0 up courtesy of the boot of their fly half, who kicked a straightforward penalty.
Portsmouth hit back almost immediately, however. A spell of expansive rugby from the visitors saw the ball worked out wide, where Tom Woodall crossed the line in the corner. The conversion was successfully made by fly half Ieuan Clements, as Portsmouth took a 7-3 lead.
Southampton answered with an unconverted try whilst Portsmouth were down to 14 with a front row forward in the sin bin, as they retook the lead 8-7.
One of several streaker interruptions then occurred, and shortly afterwards Southampton crossed the whitewash once more. This time the try was converted, and the hosts went into half time with a 15-7 lead.
That lead was extended soon after the interval, as another Southampton try saw the score stretch to 20-7.
Portsmouth responded with 18 unanswered points; the first three of which came via a successful penalty.
Then came the first of two tries for wing Lloyd Williams, who went over in the corner to bring the score back to 20-17 in Southampton’s favour.
The winger’s second followed quickly. Scrum half Ben Kirby, broke the Southampton line before offloading to Williams who, himself, beat two men before touching down in the corner for Portsmouth.
From 20-7 down, the visitors found themselves two points to the good, and that became five when a 50 metre penalty was kicked through the uprights, to make the score 25-20 in Portsmouth’s favour.
With not long left in the game Southampton threw everything they had at the Portsmouth defence, and for the most part they coped well.
However, after a prolonged spell of pressure, Southampton managed one more score. Their number 8 breaking off from the back of a rolling maul to cross the line in the corner, leaving a tricky conversion for the home side’s place kicker with the scores level.
The try was converted though, and despite late pressure from Pompey, they were unable to get the score they needed as Southampton were victors by a score line of 27-25.