King calls on men to keep their discipline

Joel Knight is back for Havant

Joel Knight is back for Havant

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Havant face a make-or-break derby with Basingstoke in National League three London & south east (2.30pm).

It won’t be a game for the faint-hearted, as both teams are desperate for the points in the relegation dogfight.

Havant won by a single point at Hooks Lane earlier in the season and it is expected to be just as tight again.

‘This is a huge game for both teams,’ said Havant’s director of rugby Adam King.

‘If we win, we go nine points clear of Basingstoke with five games to play but if we lose then we will be in the relegation zone.

‘It is as blunt as that.

‘We need to go there looking to capitalise on our strengths and play our rugby.

‘It will boil down to who can show the greater mental toughness on what is bound to be a tense occasion.

‘Derbies can be blood and thunder affairs played at pace with a physical edge.

‘As our game earlier in the season showed, there is not a lot between the two sides.

‘Basingstoke felt they could have won that game after going 14-0 up in the first 15 minutes.

‘But we fought back and had the opportunities to win by more.

‘Certainly neither team will need any extra motivation coming into this game.’

Once again Havant are sweating on the fitness of some of their more experienced performers.

Forward Graeme Frith and centre Ritchie Stenhouse face late fitness tests.

The visitors could give a debut to academy hooker Rob Elsworth, though Sam Cutting is available.

In the centre, Havant are boosted by the return of Joel Knight from university in Wales and will decide between Ritchie Booth and Grant Morris at scrum-half.

‘It will be a big call if we decide to play Rob Elsworth but he is ready if we do,’ said King.

‘Everyone wants to play in this one and is going the extra mile to be fit. Whoever plays, though, will have to show greater self-discipline than we did at Tring last week.

‘Then we coughed up three yellow cards and had to play for half an hour with 14 men.

‘If we do the same at Basingstoke we will lose.

‘In a derby, players can all too easily get caught up in the passion of the situation.

‘We want passion from our players but it needs to be channelled in a constructive manner.

‘The players have to be vibrant and dogged but disciplined at the same time.’

Havant (from): Keyte, Robinson, Stapleton, Knight, Dukes, McSeveny, Booth, Morris, Wheeler, Elsworth, Cutting, Wells, Neill, Matthews, Porter, Horn, Hart, Butterworth, Frith, Barfoot, Stenhouse, Sutton.

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