Havant keen to bounce back

Havan't James Read

Havan't James Read

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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Rob Matthews is looking for Havant to bounce back from two London one south defeats with victory at Cobham (2.30pm).

The Hooks Lane director of rugby is challenging his young side to put in an 80-minute performance and bring home the points.

‘After two league defeats we need to get back on the winning track,’ he said.

‘We have shown in games that we are capable of competing with any side in our league.

‘Our first half against Guildford showed we can be a match for anybody.

‘Unfortunately, we have had spells in our games when we have tended to switch off and conceded two or three tries in quick succession.

‘We have finished games strongly but not quite been able to get over the line.

‘It is important to play for the whole 80 minutes and if we can do that at Cobham then we will get the points.

‘Cobham, though, have had two good wins over Charlton Park and Hove recently so it isn’t going to be easy.’

Havant have been boosted by the return of powerful runner James Read following his spell playing in America.

Read returned against Guildford last weekend and showed the extra penetration he brings will be useful.

Havant also welcome the return of hooker Sam Cooksley, who has recovered from a chest infection.

Matthews is pleased with the progress being made by his relatively young squad.

He insists they have come on leaps and bounds.

In the forwards, 18-year-old Dan Munden has come in and made a notable impact.

‘We are starting to get far more consistency in the team and that is important,’ said Matthews.

‘There is great competition for places, so much so that selection meetings are lasting far longer.

‘The youngsters who have come in are improving constantly and gaining greater maturity.

‘We believe we are putting in place the base to take the team forward in the future.

‘After a few seasons struggling near the bottom we are now pushing the top six places.’

In Hampshire one, Petersfield host Alton looking to make up for the defeat at Fareham Heathens.

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