Havant have to battle on without talisman

Ryan Wilkie in possession for Portsmouth. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Portsmouth rise to call for ‘heart and desire’

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FORWARD talisman Dylan Raubenheimer is unavailable for Havant as they travel to Sidcup tomorrow (3pm) for a crucial London one south clash.

The 34-year-old is on holiday and will be a big loss as the visitors look for a vital win to stay out of relegation trouble.

Raubenheimer’s vast experience, with more than 200 senior games under his belt, has proved a big factor in helping steady the Havant ship.

He not only provides a steadying influence but also grabbed two tries in last week’s win over Old Colfeians.

‘Dylan has been very effective for us and he will be a loss, that’s for sure,’ said Havant coach Will Knight.

‘It will be up to the other players to step up and help us cope with that.

‘We know that a win will go a long way to securing our London one south status.

‘It will be a difficult game, though, because Sidcup are a little higher than us in the league.

‘The reality is, if we don’t get anything from the game, we will be in danger of slipping back into the relegation dogfight.

‘At the moment, our fate is still in our own hands with two wins from the last four games probably enough for us to stay up.

‘We don’t want to go to Trojans on the final day of the season needing to win to stay up if we can help it.’

Knight’s team picked up an important win over already-relegated Old Colfeians last weekend.

Raubenheimer crashed over in the final play of the game to win it.

Knight knows his team will have to raise their game at Sidcup.

He wants to see an improved platform from his forwards and better decision-making from the team.

‘We are not helping ourselves by being indecisive in the middle part of the pitch,’ said Knight.

‘It is important to pick the right moments to attack and make sure we are clinical in our finishing.’

The visitors have leading try-scorer Loz Blackburn back on the wing.

Outside-half Dave Sweeney reappears for the first time since his jaw was broken against Gosport & Fareham.

Knight hopes Luke Barfoot will be available to replace Raubenheimer.

Havant are seven points ahead of Gosport & Fareham, who occupy the final relegation spot, with this game in hand.

Beckenham and Cobham are also in the fight to avoid relegation with just three games left.

With Havant facing two of the top four sides, including runaway leaders East Grinstead, in their final games a win at Sidcup will provide a huge relief.

Havant: Morris, Berridge, Reed, L. Blackburn, Sweeney,

Davenport, Ward-Golden, Elsmore, Osborn, Parkins, Neill, Anchor, White, L Barfoot, Powell, J Barfoot, Living.