Havant backed to shock Wimbledon

Ben Brierley, right. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142734-460)
Ben Brierley, right. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142734-460)
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Will Knight is backing Havant to show their mettle against Wimbledon in London one south tomorrow (3pm).

The head coach watched his team pick up their first win of the league campaign at Hove last weekend.

It was a confident performance and now Knight is challenging his team to build on it when Wimbledon visit Hooks Lane.

The second-place outfit will present a difficult test.

However, Knight reckons his squad will be up for the fight.

‘This is another tough game but the win at Hove has given us a big lift,’ said the head coach.

‘It was a great result and very pleasing.

‘We now have to make sure we push on from it and maintain the same intensity.

‘There is no way we can afford to relax but the players are very much aware of that.

‘We must continue playing our rugby at the same level of intensity.

‘For once we were clinical when we got ourselves into good positions.

‘That is something we will have to repeat if we are to surprise Wimbledon.’

When the two teams met towards the end of last season it proved a feisty affair.

Knight is expecting it to be the same again – emphasising the need for his team to face up to the challenge.

‘We know that if we display the correct amount of desire and fire then we can prove quite a handful,’ said the Hooks Lane chief.

The midfield of Dave Sweeney, Grant Morris and Joel Knight will have a key role to play.

The trio combined well at Hove – causing the Sussex side a host of problems.

Outside-half Sweeney is in fine form, having created one try and scored two of his own.

He thrived on the extra bit of space, which allowed him to link up and launch attacks.

‘Dave (Sweeney) has a vast range of skills in his arsenal,’ said head coach Knight.

‘He is excellent at creating and exploiting the gaps.’

On paper Wimbledon will arrive as favourites – having won five of their opening six games.

Knight, however, believes in reality the gap between the two teams is not so great.

Results in the league so far suggest all the teams are capable of beating each other.

Havant also ran league leaders Sidcup to within a point recently, so the home side can go into the game with little fear.

‘We tend to raise our game against the top teams,’ said Knight.

‘The players enjoy the challenge of knocking the higher teams off their perch.

‘Wimbledon are obviously heading in the right direction but we are also keen to chalk up our first home win.

‘Our fans have been fantastic as always, getting behind the team.

‘We are aware we will need to raise our game again but are confident we can do that.’

Havant have powerful winger Ben Brierley back in the side after being unavailable for two weeks.

Havant: Living, Brierley, Morris, Knight, Ray, Sweeney, Reynolds, Marks, Cooksley, Powell, Munden, Neil, Brook, Cruddas, Warren-West, Saliba, Young, Gains