The University of Portsmouth lady’s 1st rugby team slumped to a 36-10 loss against Southampton, at the only lady’s rugby event of Varsity 2016.
Southampton started quickly from the start, a great step by their inside centre broke the defensive line and put her in under the posts for the first try and conversion of the match.
Southampton displayed great hands throughout the game, and the early recycling of the ball was no exception. Standing out above everyone else was their energetic inside centre, who broke through the line on the 22 metre line fifteen minutes in, for Southampton’s second try. It was easily converted for 14-0.
After the restart, Southampton’s speedy winger broke through the defensive line until she was tackled by Pompey’s full back, just shy of the five metre line. Pompey did well to turn the ruck over but were penalised for hands in the ruck.
Throughout the game, Portsmouth’s scrum was the strongest and more impressive, winning the majority of the breakdowns and even turning the ball over. This impressive performance was displayed on the twenty second minute when the visitor’s turned the scrum over. However, a resulting ruck was turned over and once again Southampton’s centres linked well for another try.
Pompey attempted to grapple the ascendancy back into their half, putting the full back and pressure and forcing here to make a rushed clearance off the pitch on the fall. Southampton’s rucking was more precise and skilled though as once again straight from the Pompey line out, the ball was turned over.
However, against the run of play, Pompey held up a sustained period of recycling all the way to the five metre line. Using the pack to gradually inch the ball closer to the line, the scrum half eventually passed the ball wide to the winger who cut inside to score under the posts.
The failed conversion would prove to be the final action of the half, with Southampton taking a 26-5 lead into the final forty minutes.
At the restart, Pompey were penalised twice for being offside within the first two minutes, but turned over the resulting scrums on both occasions.
Pompey got a second try right in the left hand corner. The winger almost was pushed out but the ball was grounded before here trailing leg could be forced over the line.
This went some way to lifting the visitor’s spirits, but on the fiftieth minute, quick hands by the Southampton backs from a turnover led to another try.
Going into the final twenty minutes, Portsmouth’s heads dropped and their lack of discipline began to tell, but for a good seven minutes they prevented the home side from increasing their lead
However, despite a steady defence, Southampton’s number eight charged through the line, and popped it to the winger who scored under the posts for 36-10.
The try, with eight minutes to spare, made the result certain, but did not damage the Pompey spirits too badly.
Portsmouth piled on some intense late pressure to be able to come away from the game with their heads held high. Although their captain would not be able to say the same, sustaining a dislocated finger with four minutes to play.
Against harder opposition, the Pompey ladies consolidated their loss with a gutsy final ten-minute performance, and a well natured game came to an end as the fly half booted the ball off the pitch.