Havant looks to the future

Cornborough helps England notch first victory

Havant director of rugby Adam King believes the club's academy set-up has a key role to play in any future success.

King regards the community aspect of the club in developing local talent as paramount to their progression.

With little money to attract big-name players, home-grown talent is vital.

And injuries have hit Havant hard in the first half of their National League campaign.

That makes it all the more vital for the young prospects to come in and play their part, which they have done.

'A number of last season's academy side have come through to play in our National League side already this season,' said King.

'Luke Barfoot is holding down a place in the back row, Joel Knight has come back from university in Wales to figure on occasions and, at Staines, James Sutton went on as replacement to score a crucial try.

'We have had to grind out some results and the academy graduates have played an important part.

'Recent teams have included 15 players, who have come through our academy and junior sections.

'We have also been able to use our second and third teams to give academy players a taste of merit table rugby.

'Over the past two years we have been fortunate to have National League legend Will Knight in charge and he has been very successful.

'Under his guidance we now run two academy sides, which is quite a proud boast.'

King added: 'Last season the senior side reached the quarter-finals of the national colts cup.

'The youngsters receive excellent coaching and are allowed to develop at their own pace.

'It gives us a strong breeding ground for local talent which is important during the current economic situation.

'In the past we have had 10 overseas players and that did get us up to third place in National League division two.

'That isn't sustainable financially and, anyway, it is a pretty transient model at the expense of local talent.

'Obviously you can't totally rely on youngsters and we are lucky in that we still have a number of experienced National League players who can play alongside them.

'The key is getting the right balance.

'I don't see us returning to the days of the big budget so the academy is vital.

'The future is looking good.

'Last weekend our senior side, who top their league, beat Tottonians by 70 points and our second team beat Basingstoke's senior academy by 50 points.'

Havant finished the first half of their league campaign strongly with three consecutive wins.

They now have a three-week break before resuming with a home game against bottom club North Walsham.