Havant praised after ‘terrific’ derby

Jerome Rudder touches down try number two. Picture: Mick Young (161176-08)
Jerome Rudder touches down try number two. Picture: Mick Young (161176-08)
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Havant produced a classy display as they stormed to a superb 46-31 London one south derby win over Tottonians at Hooks Lane.

Will Knight’s side came out on top in a thrilling encounter that was an excellent advert for Hampshire rugby.

Both teams deserved credit for producing a feast of outstanding action in the clash.

And Knight felt it was a great occasion for all involved.

‘To have that many points scored in an open, flowing game of rugby – with both teams going at each other hammer and tongs – is fantastic,’ said Havant’s head coach.

‘It was played in a terrific spirit and was a top game of rugby.

‘We were looking for a reaction from our team after losing at Sevenoaks.

‘And that was exactly what we got against one of the best teams in our league.

‘We wanted to prove a point and put together a terrific performance to earn a five-point win.

‘As coaches you can only provide the tools for the players to develop.

‘What we are starting to see are the players answering the questions themselves rather than looking to someone else to do it.

‘At times they are very good and it is exciting to see glimpses of what we can be capable of.’

Tottonians set the scene in the opening minute when they cut Havant apart to score a superb try.

The Havant response, however, was equally impressive as they hit back with three tries of their own.

Tristan Trehan piled over for the first and it was quickly followed by another from winger Jerome Rudder.

Rudder, not long out of the club’s academy, danced his way around two defenders to score on the outside.

The winger then set up the third try with a good inside pass to outside-half Dave Sweeney.

Joel Knight added two conversions and a penalty.

Before half-time both teams added further tries – with Loz Blackburn getting in on the act for Havant, who led 29-17 at the break.

‘It was pretty breathless stuff,’ said Will Knight.

There was no let up at the start of the second half with Rudder adding a converted try within a minute of the restart.

Joel Knight then stretched the lead to 39-17 with a penalty but Tottonians refused to lie down. The visitors hit back with two tries and at 39-31 – with 15 minutes remaining – the game was finely balanced.

‘At that stage we were getting slightly edgy because Totts had got themselves on the front foot,’ added Will Knight.

‘But we rallied and got a very well worked try to kill it off.

‘We didn’t panic and managed the closing stages well.’

Trehan grabbed the all important final try – his second of the game.