Havant must take A game to Brighton

Rob Matthews has told Havant to take their A game to Brighton on Saturday (3pm).

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 1:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th December 2017, 1:15 pm
Harrison Young in action against Brighton earlier this season. Picture: Neil Marshall (171150-13)

The Hooks Lane outfit make the trip to Sussex on the back of four successive wins in London one south.

Now sitting third in the table, they are keen to stretch that run to five at Waterhall Road.

But director of rugby Rob Matthews is expecting a stern challenge from the hosts.

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‘Brighton at home are a challenge for anybody,’ he said.

‘They have already beaten Chichester and gone well at home against a whole range of teams.

‘We know from experience over the years just how tough this derby fixture can be.

‘For us to win we will need to be at our 100-per-cent best.

‘We must approach it as if it was a top-of-the-table game.

‘Week in, week out we have been improving and two weeks ago at Thurrock I thought we produced some of our best rugby.

‘We showed just what we can achieve when we play as a team.

‘Our forwards were combative and produced plenty of good possession for our backs. The set-pieces were also strong.

‘When that happens our backs are more than a match for anyone in our league and will score tries.’

Havant make a number of changes from the side that gained a 33-14 win against Chobham.

Harrison Young is available again in the second row – prompting Rob Cuffe to switch to the back-row, while Luke Barefoot returns at number eight.

Wingers Harry Carr and Penione Tagituimua are both unavailable.

Luke Warrington fills one spot, with the other still to be decided.

Second-row Mitch Goldring makes his first appearance of the season in the replacements.

Matthews reckons the reappearance of the forward highlights the increasing strength in depth at the club.

And the director of rugby reckons it is still all to play for in the battle for promotion.

‘Mitch joined us at the start of last season from Locks Heath Pumas,’ he said.

‘He has proved a revelation, getting around the park and doing the donkey work.

‘We saw Medway lose recently and that brought everyone back to within seven or eight points. The league title and promotion are still very much up for grabs.

‘This game and the month after Christmas will prove vital. Our first game back is against Chichester at Hooks Lane and that is massive game for both teams.

‘Whoever wins that will have a good shot at winning the league or finishing second.

‘It is important we head into that crucial game on the back of another win.’