Havant focused for Sidcup visit

Ben Brierley's return on the wing will provide Havant coach will knight with a further boost
Ben Brierley's return on the wing will provide Havant coach will knight with a further boost
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Havant are aiming for a third consecutive London One south win as they entertain Sidcup at Hooks Lane tomorrow (2pm).

Wins either side of Christmas over Gosport & Fareham and Brighton have given Will Knight’s side a massive boost in confidence.

Last week’s victory at Brighton moved Havant up to sixth in the league table – just one place below their Kent visitors.

When the two sides met early in the season, Sidcup – then the league leaders – scraped to a 20-19 victory, but the whole affair was marred in controversy.

One of the Sidcup props was injured in the warm-up, and the match started with the home side having no front-row replacement.

Then, when another one of their props was yellow-carded in the second half, the game immediately went to uncontested scrums, which was contrary to the RFU regulations.

It also removed the considerable advantage the visitors had established in the scrums.

Following the game, and after a number of appeals from home side, the Rugby Football Union awarded the game to Havant with a four-try bonus point victory.

Head coach Knight believes that setback will only add to the visitors’ incentive on their visit to the south coast.

‘Sidcup might still be smarting about it which could give them extra motivation if they needed it,’ said Knight.

‘We fully expect them to come out all guns blazing.

‘If the boot was on the other foot I know we would expect to do the same.

‘On the day we felt that we dominated the scrum and ended up getting less than we should have done.

‘We won’t be worrying about that, though, and will be focusing on our own game.

‘The conditions are likely to be very wet and muddy and we showed at Brighton that we are more than capable of dealing with a war of attrition.’

The home side are boosted by the return of experienced back-row forward Joe Davis to the pack.

His tremendous work-rate and ability to play in the most difficult of conditions will help the Havant forwards adapt their game.

With Steve Cruddas and Mike Booth alongside him, the trio will relish a game played close to the floor.

The return of powerful winger Ben Brierley and intelligent scrum-half Jake Reynolds will further add to the hosts’ armoury.

‘Ben (Brierley) is a big, powerful unit and a handful for most 
opponents,’ said Knight.

‘Jake (Reynolds) reads the game well and will recognise conditions will dictate the way the game should be played.

‘Over the years there has never been a lot between the two teams and we are fully expecting it to be the same again.

‘Sidcup are one of the best teams in the league but we have shown that, on our day, we are capable of beating 

Havant: Wilkes, Brierley, Read, Knight J, Living, Sweeney, Reynolds, Marks, Morgan, Ward-Golden, Parkin, Janes, Brook, Cruddas, Davis. Replacements: Zaliba, Warren-West, Morris