Havant welcome back their captain Joel Knight for their opening London one south game against Dover at Hooks Lane tomorrow (3pm).
Knight missed the second half of last season with a broken thumb which required surgery.
On the whole we are still a young side, positively continuing to improveWill Knight
The 23-year-old is a major influence in the Havant ranks as the number one goal-kicker.
Coach Will Knight is delighted to have the talismanic three-quarter back in the side.
‘It has got to be good to have your captain and leading points scorer in the side at the start of the season,’ said Will Knight.
‘We ended up seventh in the league last year and I am looking for us to improve on that.
‘During the summer we added a few new players to the nucleus of the team from last year.
‘Since dropping out of the national leagues three seasons ago we have been working hard to re-establish ourselves.
‘We have brought on young players and given them increasing experience at senior level.
‘That investment into the academy system is starting to pay off.
‘On the whole we are still a young side, positively continuing to improve.’
New faces include centre Richard Gumbleton, from Llanishen in Cardiff, winger Scott Morris, from Sussex University, hooker Jerome Trail, from Hull, and three-quarter Harry Carr, from Grove in the south west.
Ex-Gosport & Fareham colt Trail makes his debut against Dover, with Carr starting on the replacements’ bench.
Trail has been at Hull University and has previously spent time on the London Irish development scheme.
‘Jerome is a powerful hooker and well known in the local area,’ said Will Knight.
‘He is a very good player and looks a real asset to our squad.’
Havant also have a number of old faces back at the club, with both centre Loz Blackburn and number eight Gavin Hart coming straight back into the team.
Blackburn only managed one game last season because of an ankle injury, while Hart returns after spells with Bournemouth and Basingstoke.
‘Gavin is a very experienced, powerful player and can be a driving force for us this season,’ said Knight.
Havant will be ready for a tough contest against Dover as both sides eye a strong start to the season.
‘Dover will be the same as us, wanting to hit the ground running,’ said Will Knight.
‘They will come and play their usual robust style of rugby and we will have to be at our best to cope with that.
‘We have set ourselves targets right through the club and we are excited about the coming season.’
Havant: Wilkes, Brierley, Loz Blackburn, Knight, Gains, Reynolds, Morris, Marks, Trail, Ward-Golden, Young, Janes, Roberts, Cruddas, Hart. Replacements: Morgan, Barfoot, Carr