Havant eye hat-trick in south-coast showdown

Steve Cruddas   Picture: Allan Hutchings
Steve Cruddas Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Havant are targeting a third successive London one south success as they host Brighton in a south-coast derby at Hooks Lane tomorrow (2pm).

Since losing at Gosport & Fareham Will Knight’s team have bounced back in fine style.

They beat Medway before Christmas and returned from their mid-season break to win at Twickenham.

Knight wants his team to maintain their momentum, particularly as they feel they have a point to prove against the Sussex side.

‘Losing at Brighton earlier in the season was one of our low points,’ said Knight.

‘We went there with a disrupted squad and ended up on the end of a 60 point walloping.

‘Brighton were by far the better team on the day and it was our biggest defeat for some time.

‘We are in a far better place now and the players are determined to put that previous performance and result right.

‘I think recent games have shown that we have a greater resilience about us.

‘In games we have ridden the storm at times before pulling away to win well.

‘There is a greater steel about us at the moment.

‘We also have a great balance in our back line with real pace out wide alongside some big physical units

‘They are complimented by a dynamic back five who get themselves around the park.’

Knight is also buoyed by the fact there is greater consistency in selection and availability.

In the earlier part of the campaign this was a problem and made it difficult to find any rhythm throughout the team.

He is able to name an unchanged back line and is forced to make just two changes in the forwards.

Armundus Morgan comes into the front row instead of Jack Ward-Golden who is unavailable due to work commitments.

In the back row, Richard James comes off the bench to replace the unavailable Joe Davis.

Apart from the game at Brighton earlier this season, clashes between the two clubs are usually tight affairs.

The two clubs know each other well, with a number of players turning out for both teams.

There will be an added spice in the contest for Havant forward Steve Cruddas who spent a couple of seasons along the coast.

‘We are pleased with the way things are progressing at the moment,’ said Knight.

‘At Twickenham we were guilty of making some silly mistakes which allowed them to stay in the game.

‘We made life more life far more difficult than was necessary.

‘Against Brighton we have to make sure we maintain our focus and concentration at all times.

‘Some of our rugby in the final 15 minutes at Twickenham was impressive with backs and forwards linking well.

‘It wasn’t that we scored a lot of points but the manner in which we did it.’

Havant: Harry Carr, Scott Morris, Loz Blackburn, Darren Bamford, Ben Brierley, Joel Knight, Jake Hewitt, Luke Marks, Jerome Trail, Armundus Morgan, Ross Parkin, Luke Barfoot, Richard James, 
Steve Cruddas, Gav Hart