Havant hoping for luck of the Irish

Will Knight

Will Knight

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Havant are targeting a first win of the season as they welcome newly-promoted London Irish Amateur to Hooks Lane in National Three London & south east (3pm).

After taking over as director of rugby in the summer, Will Knight has had a baptism of fire, with his side starting with two thumping defeats against Tring and Bracknell.

Despite the difficult start, Knight remains upbeat and has been encouraged by aspects of his team’s performances.

He faces a huge task trying to maintain National League rugby at the club but is determined to keep the club moving forward.

A win against the newcomers would give the whole club a boost in confidence and increase their self-belief.

‘This is a game we have to target, although we don’t know a lot about them,’ said Knight.

‘For us it is a case of putting in a few more building blocks and upping our performance again across the board.

‘It has been a very difficult first couple of weeks but that was to be expected after we only brought the side together towards the end of the summer.

‘That means we are both very young and very new, with little experience of playing together as a team.

‘In both games, though, we have seen things getting better.

‘Before the Bracknell game we focused on defence around the fringes and that proved to be one of our strengths.

‘We were in the game for the first and final quarters but in between they had a winger who scored five tries to kill us off.

‘Rome wasn’t built in a day and the key is going to be competition for places.

‘With players coming back from injury and others joining the club it should help.

‘Players need to know that there are others behind them wanting their shirt because it keeps the pressure on them to maintain their individual level of performance.’

Outside-half Joel Knight travels back from university in Wales to lead the back-line and Sam Cutting comes in for Luke Fenn at prop forward.

Two other changes see Ross Perkins (forwards) and Liam Davenport (scrum-half) replace Jake Reynolds and Luke Osborn.

Injured winger Jaryd Robinson is likely to be out for the next couple of weeks, Luke Barfoot misses out due to concussion and Will Williams is unavailable.

Havant: Stapleton, Blackburn, Morris, Rogers, Craig, Knight, Davenport, Cutting, Elsmore, Marks, Roberts, Horn, Goodger, Perkins, Westaway, Fenn, Reynolds, Osborn.

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