Havant coach predicting another ‘fierce battle’ against Chichester

Will Knight is predicting a pre-Christmas cracker as London One South leaders Havant travel the short distance to Chichester.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:29 pm
Joe Moore makes a pass during Havant's home win over Chichester in September. Picture: Ian Hargreaves.

The south coast derby is a game that is always fiercely contested.

Knight expects it to be no different as his side aim to finish the year at the top of the league.

To do that a win will be essential as Westcombe Park and Camberley are breathing down their necks.

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'This is a cracking way to go into the Christmas break,' said Knight.

'The whole squad is excited by this one because games against Chichester always have a bit more edge to them.

'We have had some fierce battles against them.

'It has been a tough place for us to go and we have not had a lot of success there in recent years.

'We beat them well at our place at the start of the season but we have great respect for them as a team.

'Our preparations have been focused on completing the double over them.

'We go there as leaders, which is a great position to be in, but we’re determined to keep our feet on the floor.

'Chichester beat Camberley recently so we know they can be dangerous.

'We know that we can't afford to get too carried away by where we are.

'If we go out and play our rugby anywhere near what we have been, then it should be good enough to get us the result we want.'

Havant make a number of changes from the side that beat KCS Old Boys last weekend.

Jerome Trail, who celebrated his 100th league appearance in the last outing, moves from hooker to back-row.

In the front row Sean Shepherd slots in at hooker for his first game in a while.

Shepherd featured earlier in the season but appearances have been limited due to his Royal Navy duties.

The visitors are also able to call upon the vast experience of Steve Cruddas in the back-row.

'Steve is probably our most experienced player and is an out and out opened wing forward,' said Knight.

'That is what got him the nod ahead of Will Owen who we will use as an impact player off the bench.

Joe Moore re-appears at inside centre partnering Scott Morris.

Wayne Dugan is suspended after being sent off in the final minutes against KCS.

James Wise and Harry Carr fill the wing berths with Ben Chambers at full-back.

Recent derbies have seen honours virtually shared, with Havant having won twice and Chi three times.

Havant thrashed Chichester 41-19 in their first home game of the season back in September, but in 2018/19 they were beaten twice - 28-19 at Hooks Lane and 39-32 at Chi.

The previous season, 2017/18, saw both teams win their home matches.