Gosport hoping to upset holders Havant
UNDERDOGS Gosport & Fareham are eyeing an upset against Hampshire Cup holders Havant in their semi-final tie at Gosport Park tomorrow (2.30pm).
The home side have already lost twice to the visitors in London one south league encounters this season.
In the league the two clubs have enjoyed vastly contrasting fortunes.
Havant are second with an outstanding chance of earning themselves an end-of-season play-off game for promotion.
At the other end of the table, Gosport & Fareham are almost certain to be relegated with just one win all season.
Both teams know that when it comes to cup rugby, league form can often fly out of the window.
Gosport coach Barry Bridgman took a lot of encouragement from the last time the two teams met.
Though Havant won that game easily in the end Bridgman’s team were competitive for the first hour.
‘We are going to go out and give it a good go that is for sure,’ said Bridgman.
‘This is a game all our players want to feature in.
‘With our full team out at Gosport Park we can be a much more difficult proposition.
‘The last time we played we matched them in the set piece and it wasn’t until after we shipped a couple of tries in quick succession that they took control.
‘The final scoreline flattered them and we could have pushed them a lot closer.
‘For us this is a great opportunity to move things forward without the pressure of league points.
‘We are determined to give it our best shot.’
Havant’s director of rugby Rob Matthews is expecting another tough test from their local rivals.
Winning promotion remains the priority for the Hooks Lane club and with that in mind will rejig their team
Matthews insists that this season it is very much about having a strength in depth in the squad.
‘We see ourselves as a squad of 23 players or more, rather than just one team at the club,’ said Matthews.
‘To achieve anything this is what you need.
‘We will use the game as an opportunity to see what some players are capable of.
‘It is still a very strong side that we will be putting out with a good mix of youth and experience
‘Last time it took us nearly all game to break Gosport down.
‘I am expecting them to come at us and that the scoreline will be a lot closer this time around.’
Gosport & Fareham’s first choice outside-half Alex Duncombe is injured. Rory Penfold or Kieran McRoberts will be likely to step in.
The visitors give debuts to Charlie Wright and Lewis Whitfield in the front row.