Havant and Gosport ready for a ‘fiery’ derby encounter

123280-05_MY_havant_rugby'Havant v Cobham.'Jarryd Robinson leaves the opposition in his wake with a hat-trick on his return to Havant.'Pic Mick Young'20/10/2012

123280-05_MY_havant_rugby'Havant v Cobham.'Jarryd Robinson leaves the opposition in his wake with a hat-trick on his return to Havant.'Pic Mick Young'20/10/2012

Tom Blackburn helps Havant to put the pressure on CS Rugby 1663 at Hooks Lane Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant get the job done in thriller

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Hooks Lane will be no place for the faint-hearted as Havant host fierce local rivals Gosport & Fareham in London one south tomorrow (2pm).

Crucial league points are at stake and a highly-competitive derby is on the cards.

Both teams are improving after making a sluggish start to their league campaigns and have realistic ambitions of staying up.

Havant already boast a 32-17 win over their neighbours when the sides clashed in the second game of the season.

But Hooks Lane coach Will Knight knows that result counts for little, with local pride on the line again.

It’s a pivotal contest for Havant as they could put some distance between themselves and the pack scrapping for survival.

Equally, they could be sucked right back into the relegation fight.

Knight said: ‘This game means a lot to both teams and the fact it is a local derby only adds extra spice.

‘A win would give us a decent buffer zone on the teams below but a defeat would send us back down there.

‘We have a huge amount of respect for the way Mark Wells and his coaching team get the best from their Gosport players.

‘They will be confrontational and physical so we will need to stand toe to toe with them.

‘Discipline will be vital and players will need to keep their heads.

‘It will be the team who can manage the expectations and intensity to play the best tactical game that will come out on top.

‘The side that can come through all that and play their rugby should win.

‘We will look to nullify their threats and get our strike-runners into the game.’

Gosport & Fareham coach Scott Ashley believes it is a game his team can win after pushing second-placed Chichester all the way last time out.

He is also preparing his troops for a feisty affair.

‘Given the physical nature of both teams, there could be fireworks,’ said Ashley.

‘We will be going there to fight fire with fire.

‘Our aggressive display paid off against Chichester and allowed us to play attractive rugby with conviction and courage.

‘It could be a bit of a dogfight against Havant.

‘We have to make sure that we remain controlled and don’t give silly penalties or yellow cards away.

‘We are expecting a packed ground and it will be vociferous on and off the pitch.

‘Our aim is to head into the new year with a win behind us.’

Prop-forward Ash Burton and winger Alex Heron return for Gosport.

Matt Flower is expected to continue in the front-row after impressing against Chichester.

Meanwhile, Havant are boosted by the return of winger Jarryd Robinson.

The ace, who trains with the England sevens squad, has proved to be a match-winner with his lightning pace this season.

But he has been nursing an injury in recent weeks.

Ross Parkin takes his place on the replacements’ bench.

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