Exciting Fijian recruit can bring ‘bit of magic’ to Havant

Havant are aiming for a good start against London Cornish. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Havant are aiming for a good start against London Cornish. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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HAVANT are hoping a little bit of Fijian magic can help them on the way to a winning start as they open their London one south campaign at London Cornish (3pm).

The visitors give a debut to young Ben Tagituimua at outside half after he has impressed during pre-season.

The South Sea islander is one of four new players as the Hooks Lane side begin their effort to better last season’s third-placed finish.

Full-back Ben Chambers, hooker Harry Dowds and wing-forward Rob Cuff all make their first starts.

Will Knight is excited by the new arrivals.

‘Our Fijian acquisition appeared at the club playing for a team in the Spinnaker Sevens during the summer,’ said the Havant head coach.

‘We got him down to pre-season training and he looks to have a bit of magic in his boots.

‘He looks an exciting addition and will bring a different style of rugby to the team.

‘During the pre-season games he has proved a real handful for all our opponents.

‘His is a heads up game playing what’s in front of him and he adds to our already powerful three-quarters.’

Chambers and Dowds are both Royal Navy players, the former who can play as a utility back has a lot of experience.

Dowds is a Navy under-23 player and has impressed during the summer.

Wing forward Cuff has come through the academy and played in the second team, the Dolphins, all last season.

Front-row forward Jack Ward-Golden celebrates his 100th league game for the club.

‘It was hugely disappointing to miss out on the play-offs on the final day of last season,’ said Knight.

‘We are looking to build massively on that.

‘There are still 10 to 12 members of our squad not available this weekend for one reason or another.

‘When we get them back there will be fantastic competition for places.

‘In this league having strength in depth is a vital factor.

‘This year we have entered our second team into a more competitive league which will test them week in, week out.

‘This will help players when they step up into the senior side.’

The only notable absentee from last season is the experienced figure of Gav Hart who has taken up a coaching role with local rivals Tottonians.

It promises to be a tough season in the race to go up with relegated sides Chichester and Medway coming into the league and likely to be strong.

Promoted London Cornish are also a progressive looking club.

Havant: Chambers, Morris, Brierley, Knight, Carr, Tagituimua, Hewitt, Powell, Dowds, Ward-Golden, Janes, Young, Cuff, Davis, Barfoot. Replacements: Bellman E, Mellor, Reynolds.

Portsmouth host Gosport & Fareham in a pre-season game at Rugby Camp (3pm).