Havant put faith in pace

Jerome Rudder. Picture: Mick Young
Jerome Rudder. Picture: Mick Young
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Havant are aiming to exploit their pace on the wings as they bid to consolidate their London one south runners-up spot at Chiswick.

Head coach Will Knight believes a more expansive game can be the key to success against their relegation-battling hosts.

Consequently the Hooks Lane outfit will look to get their speed merchants in on the action.

Knight also feels his team will need to have their wits about them for what could be a tricky test.

‘I want us to get back more to the open and flowing rugby we played earlier in the season,’ said the head coach.

‘We have got two wingers, Jay Wilkes and Jerome Rudder, who have pace to burn.

‘Although we can play in a number of different styles, when the pitches get harder it suits us more.

‘Both our wingers can cause serious damage and we must look to exploit that. We will look to get them into the game a lot more.

‘In recent weeks I feel we have played a bit too much up the middle. This is partly down to the conditions and partly down to our opponents.

‘They have looked to close our space down a lot more because they know if they don’t we have the ability to open them up.’

Havant make a number of changes in the forwards. Nathan Bellman comes in at number six to replace Joe Davis, who is working.

Matt Whitehead returns at wing-forward. Wilkes replaces Scott Morris, who took a knock last week, on the wing.

Loz Blackburn fills in at full-back for the unavailable Darren Bamford.

In their last game, Havant worked hard to achieve an 18-10 home win over Gravesend.

Failure to pick up a bonus point allowed third-placed Tunbridge Wells to narrow the gap to four points. It looks very much like the runners-up spot – and a play-off place – will be a two-horse race.

And Knight expects it to go right to the wire.

He added: ‘Every point is important now. All the games now are pressure games.

‘The players have shown so far that they can cope with that.

‘Chiswick are fighting for their lives just above the relegation zone so they will be dangerous.

‘We won’t take any team lightly and we are not expecting it to be straightforward.

‘We know they are physically strong up front, have a good driving line-out and will contest well at the breakdown.

‘It will be up to us to move the ball quickly away from those areas.

‘If we perform to the levels we are capable of then we should possess more than enough to do the job.’

Havant: Blackburn L, Wilkes, Brierley, Knight J, Rudder, Sweeney, Hewitt, Morgan, Trail, Blackburn T, Janes, Goldring, Bellman N, Whitehead, Hart. Replacements: Bellman E, Roberts, Benjamin