Havant backed to step up to Sidcup challenge

Loz Blackburn. Picture: Mick Young (151335-04)
Loz Blackburn. Picture: Mick Young (151335-04)
Havants Penioni Tagituimua. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Cuffe dismissed as Havant suffer first defeat

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Will Knight is adamant Havant can rise to the challenge against third-placed Sidcup in their London one south contest at Hooks Lane (2-30pm).

The head coach is looking for a smart performance from his team.

Havant are looking to stop the rot after three successive defeats have seen them slip into the bottom half of the table.

Frustratingly, all the defeats were by four points or less – showing the fine line between success and failure.

‘As a club in the past we have tended to play better against the top sides,’ said Knight.

‘This is a tough game and the conditions may also play a huge part in it.

‘It is likely to be wet and we may have to adapt our game accordingly.

‘We have an exciting set of three-quarters and like to throw the ball around.

‘On this occasion we might be forced to use our nous a bit more and that is something that hasn’t always come to the fore.

‘It might include changing our style of play.

‘We have to be more precise and have spent a lot of time this week working on our decision making.

‘The key could be trying to make sure we play the game in the right areas.’

Havant are still having to deal with a number of injury and availability problems, particularly in the forwards.

Tim Miller and Bruce Neil return to the second row, and Justin Lewis replaces the unavailable Jack Ward-Golden at prop forward.

In the three-quarters, Jake Reynolds moves from scrum-half to outside-half, and Darren Bamford reappears in the centre.

The return of Bamford sees Loz Blackburn shift out to the wing.

Knight said: ‘We are having to make changes every week and it is unsettling. It prevents us getting any continuity and chopping and changing all the time is disruptive.

‘Players need to be playing alongside each other on a regular basis.

‘We are not where we want to be in the league and I don’t believe we are a bottom end of the league team.

‘The reality of league rugby, though, is you don’t always get what you deserve.

‘There is an important run between now and Christmas where we must look to pick up more points.

‘The players need to turn good performances into wins. It would be nice to get into a position where I can have a full squad to choose from again.

‘We’ve had our fair share of injury problems and it hasn’t been easy.

‘When we have our players back we can be a very difficult team to beat.

‘In the meantime we just have to deal with it and look at getting back to winning habits.’

HAVANT: Pat Gains, Loz Blackburn, Darren Bamford, Joel Knight, Harry Carr, Jake Reynolds, Jake Hewitt, Justin Lewis, Jerome Trail, Luke Marks, Bruce Neil, Tim Miller, Steve Cruddas, Luke Barfoot, Joe Davis. Reps: Justin Powell, Dan Porter, Dave Sweeney