Havant can use cup lift as catalyst for charge

Loz Blackburn on the charge for Havant who want a win tomorrow

Loz Blackburn on the charge for Havant who want a win tomorrow

Freddie Gleadowe had a hand in Hampshire's try. Picture: Keith Woodland

Hampshire pride in Twickenham defeat

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HAVANT director of rugby Rob Matthews claims his side are firmly on track to challenge at the top of London one south next season.

Matthews’ side go into tomorrow’s game against Hove at Hooks Lane (2.30pm) off the back of reaching the Hampshire Cup final following their impressive semi-final win against Gosport at the beginning of the month.

However, since then Havant have slipped to back-to-back league defeats at the hands of Gravesend and Brighton.

But Matthews believes the spirit shown in their cup run can inspire the team to push on.

They will be looking for a good run of form through to the end of the season.

Matthews said: ‘We have improved a lot since earlier in the season and it is great for the team to be able to get to a cup final.

‘We used the game as a chance to give some of the fringe players a go and they really showed what strength in depth the squad have.

‘The club are far enough away from the drop zone and are not going up, so we will use the rest of the season to blood some of the younger players.

‘When me and Will Knight (head coach) joined two years ago we always saw this as a three-year plan.

‘And we firmly believe we are on track to challenge next season.

‘We have had a consistent team lately, performed well and have a competitive squad, so we firmly see ourselves competing next year.’

Havant travelled to Hove earlier in the season and the home side came out on top in a 29-14 victory.

But Matthews thinks things will be different this time around.

He hopes his side can come away with the result.

‘I think it is going to be a completely different game to the last time we played,’ added Matthews.

‘We did not show up on the day and we will have to make a fast start this time around, to make sure we get the result.

‘They came with a game plan and fair play to them they come away with the result.

‘But we will be ready for them this time around.

‘Their 10 sat deep and made the game really hard for us to win but we have been doing enough drills in training and we will be looking for the win.

‘The weather conditions will be similar to the last time we played, so their game plan could definitely come into play again.

‘But we are a different team since then and I think that with our work in training they will find it hard to come away with the same result.’

n SSE, proud sponsor of the National and Divisional Leagues, has £10,000 worth of mobile floodlights for your club to win. To find out how to enter go to the website SSERugby.com

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