Important opportunity for Havant to turn things around

Jake Reynolds. Picture: Keith Woodland
Jake Reynolds. Picture: Keith Woodland
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Havant face a huge test of character as they look to turn their London one south campaign around against Tottonians at Hooks Lane on Saturday (2pm).

Tottonians hold the bragging rights after recently winning at Havant in the final of the Hampshire Challenge Cup.

With just two wins from 12 league games the home side find themselves involved in the relegation scrap.

The visitors are just three points and one place better off so there is a lot at stake for both teams.

Director of rugby Rob Matthews is convinced Havant now have the opportunity to transform their fortunes.

He said: ‘This game is the proverbial ten-pointer for both teams,' said Matthews.

'’Local games don't come much bigger than this.

‘There is a lot riding on this game.

‘To put it into context this is the mid-point of the season.

‘The first half has been difficult for us for a number of different reasons.

‘Having to play most of our games away from home because of our new artificial pitch installation made great demands.

‘On top of that we also suffered massive injury and availability problems.

‘Now we face a run of home games through to the beginning of March.

‘Everyone knows we are a totally different side at home with the vociferous home crowd behind us.

‘Also we are starting to get more players back.

‘This game is the ideal opportunity to start climbing up the league.’

Captain and influential outside-half Joel Knight is likely to be out for a couple of weeks due to an ankle injury.

Jake Reynolds, who replaced him early on at Westcombe Park, will continue in the role.

The return of Ben Chambers to the three-quarters, however, is a boost for the home team.

Powerful hooker Jerome Trail has a shoulder injury but the home side are able to call upon the vastly experienced Steve Cruddas.

Cruddas has been unavailable for away games due to family commitments.

Matthews added: ‘We have to be mindful Tottonians beat us just three to four weeks ago.

‘They have also had a chance to play on our new pitch.

‘We are hoping we can use the speed of the conditions to advance and attack down the wide channels.

‘Against Sevenoaks in our last home game we showed that we can compete against the best.

‘They only beat us by a point in the final play of the game.’