Knight calls on Havant to match visitors

Luke Barfoot faces a late fitness test. Picture: Mick Young (122722-02)
Luke Barfoot faces a late fitness test. Picture: Mick Young (122722-02)
Luke Barfoot will make his 100th league appearance. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant hope normal service will resume at home

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Havant have fourth-placed Wimbledon in their sights as they look to continue their London One south climb at Hooks Lane tomorrow (2.30pm).

Coach Will Knight believes his squad are improving all the time and becoming increasingly capable of competing against the top sides.

On a number of occasions this term, Havant have got themselves into good positions only to throw it all away at the death.

Their inability to close out games has meant results have not always reflected performances.

And it is that form which has left them in eighth place – just below mid-table.

Wimbledon will present a tough challenge when they arrive at Hooks Lane tomorrow.

And Knight reckons his side have to match them at the breakdown to stand any chance of success.

‘We will need to produce an energetic performance and one of real intensity,’ said the coach.

‘It is vital we match their firepower up front and at the breakdown.

‘We know Wimbledon have a substantial southern-hemisphere contingent and their game reflects that.

‘They are pacy and attack the breakdown and if we are not at the top of our game they will make it pay.

‘We have a solid scrummage platform and will look to use that as an attacking weapon.

‘And we have brought a bit more pace into our back-row to combat the opposition.

‘It is also important that our midfield combination works both as an attacking and a defensive unit.

‘If we give Wimbledon an inch they will take a mile.’

Havant returned to winning ways with a 34-17 victory at bottom club Old Colfeians last weekend.

It took a much-improved second-half performance, though, after the visitors found themselves trailing at the break.

Forward Luke Barfoot faces a fitness test but Knight is hopeful the pacy university student will be fit to play.

His presence could play an important part in trying to nullify Wimbledon’s strength.

‘Luke is not the biggest number eight in the world but he is a very intelligent rugby player who works his socks off,’ said Knight.

‘Defensively he gets through a lot of work and reads the game well.

‘A few weeks ago we wouldn’t have expected to get anything from this game but with our improvements there is no reason why we can’t target a win.

‘We must see if we can go out and test Wimbledon by putting them under pressure.’

HAVANT: Living, Wilkes, Read, Knight, Blackburn Loz, Sweeney, Morris, Elsmore, Austin, Grant, Anchor, Horn, Parkin, Barfoot, D Roberts, Osborn, J Roberts, Hart