Havant determined to bounce back

Ben Brierley

HAVANT are hungry to return to winning ways as they host Maidstone in London one south tomorrow at Hooks Lane (3pm).

They are determined not to let a first defeat of the season, at Chichester, derail their bid for another promotion challenge this season.

There is also the incentive of defending an unbeaten home record which stretches back beyond last term.

In addition, Will Knight’s team will want to put on a good show for a special guest at the club.

Former England coach Dick Best is speaker at a pre-match lunch – and is staying to watch the game.

‘First and foremost, we are looking to bounce back to winning ways,’ said senior coach Knight.

‘We were obviously disappointed after last week’s defeat and have looked at what happened.

‘In training we have worked hard on some areas where we are looking for a rapid improvement.

‘As a result, we are going to be trying something different by making a reshuffle in the three-quarters.

‘At the moment we are still trying to blend in a number of new faces with players who have been in the squad for some time.

‘It takes a while for patterns to settle down and our changes are designed to add that little bit more structure.

‘We are looking to unleash the undoubted pace and power that we possess in the backs.’

The main change is the return of Joel Knight to the pivotal role of outside half in place of young Fijian Ben Tagituimua.

It is felt Knight’s greater experience and ability to bring others into the game will help create more attacking space.

Tagituimua moves to the wing, where the hosts hope to exploit his electric pace and clever running.

All the other three-quarters shuffle along, with Ben Brierley moving to inside centre to partner Scott Morris in the middle.

With Ben Chambers at full-back, Havant possess the pace and firepower to stretch the opposition defence.

In the forwards, prop Luke Marks returns to the front row for a first league appearance of the campaign following work commitments.

Meanwhile, the vastly-experienced Steve Cruddas returns to the back-row.

Knight added: ‘Obviously we are looking to exploit the pace and creativity of our backs, but to do that firstly we have to win the battle up front.

‘We know from past experience that Maidstone will be a tough nut to crack.

‘They are always very competitive and it is never an easy game against them.

‘We will have to battle hard to ensure that we get a decent supply of ball.

‘We know that if our backs click to their full potential they are capable of causing some serious damage.’

Havant: Chambers, Tagituimua, Morris, Brierley, Carr, Knight, Hewitt, Marks, Bellman, T Blackburn, Janes, Young, Davis, Cruddas, Barfoot. Replacements: Powell, Cuffe, Benjamin

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