Havant out to avoid unlucky number 13

Darren Bamford returns at full-back for Havant   Picture: Neil Marshall
Darren Bamford returns at full-back for Havant Picture: Neil Marshall
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Rob Matthews predicts Havant will need to show all their resolve to win their London one south derby at Tottonians tomorrow (2.30pm).

The assistant-coach views the Hampshire rivals as a ‘clear and present danger’ to his side’s 12-game unbeaten run.

When the two sides met earlier in the season at Hooks Lane it proved a free-flowing affair.

Nearly 80 points were scored as the home side finally ran out 46-31 winners to collect the bonus-point victory.

On the day, Matthews believed it was the Havant forwards who laid the platform for the win.

He is looking for them to do the same as they look to complete the league double.

In his eyes they have another big job to do.

‘Both teams possess a fantastic set of three-quarters,’ said Matthews.

‘Looking back on the last time we met, our forwards were able to dominate the possession.

‘This enabled us to unleash our dangerous set of backs.

‘It is something we will need to replicate if we want to keep our unbeaten run going.

‘Building a solid platform and providing quick ball will be the key to success.

‘Our set-piece has been strong this season but we need to make sure we remain at the top of our game.

‘Against Sevenoaks we allowed them to compete and didn’t get clean possession from our scrums and line-out for a period.

‘Tottonians are a good side and of course there is the added spice of being a local derby.

‘They will also be keen to revenge their defeat from the first game.

‘So far though our players have shown themselves to be up for every challenge thrown at them.

‘I know it is an old cliche but with eight games left we are focusing on one at a time.’

‘Every game we stay unbeaten it just racks up more pressure but the players are dealing with it.’

The visitors reshuffle their three-quarters with a number of players available to return.

Wayne John and Dave Sweeney return as the half-back pairing with Joel Knight reverting back to the centre.

Loz Blackburn is unavailable so Darren Bamford comes back in at full-back following his Royal Navy Rugby League commitments.

In the front row Jake Biggs continues for the injured Luke Marks after doing an admirable job in recent games.

‘One of the main reasons have done so well is the consistency we have had in the backs,’ said Matthews.

‘Having a settled combination makes all the difference.

‘Joel Knight and Ben Brierley have practically played every game.

‘Having Wayne John back at scrum half means we can tie the opposition back-row down around the fringes.

‘This can create space which the likes of our centres can use to get in behind the opposition defence.’

Havant: Bamford, Morris, Brierley, Knight J, Wilks, Sweeney, John, Blackburn T, Trail, Biggs, Neil, Janes, Barfoot, Whitehead, Hart.

Replacements : Lanigan, Munden, Hewitt.