Knight keen to give drop talk the heave-Hove

Havant skipper Joel Knight Picture: Mick Young
Havant skipper Joel Knight Picture: Mick Young
Scott Morris. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Havant chief rues missed opportunity

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Head coach Will Knight is backing his Havant side to chalk up another win as they head for Hove in London one south tomorrow.

A one-point success over third-placed Brighton last weekend boosted confidence levels and has given the Hooks Lane team a winning appetite.

Hove are third from bottom, just one place below Havant, so there is a lot at stake for both teams.

A win for the visitors will enable them to put some daylight between themselves and the relegation places, but a defeat could see them drop into the bottom three.

Knight believes their win over Brighton can make all the difference, psychologically.

‘It is all about keeping up the momentum,’ said Knight.

‘Against Brighton, in stages we played some intelligent rugby, understanding what we were trying to achieve.

‘We sucked their defences in and released the ball at the right time.

‘One thing about our squad is that they won’t rest on their laurels.

‘They are very self-critical and wanting to do better all the time.

‘A large proportion of our squad are still in their early 20s or younger.

‘It is a very steep learning curve but they are all determined to stick with it.’

Havant know, if their forwards can provide a solid platform, they have the quality in the backs to destroy opponents.

Captain and centre Joel Knight is the top points-scorer in the league and fellow centre Ben Brierley isn’t far behind.

The first task will be establishing that platform because Hove possess a good pack of forwards capable of shutting opponents down.

Both of Hove’s wins this season have come at home and Havant will need to adapt to the big open pitch set in the middle of a park.

‘We know they will come at us all guns blazing,’ said Knight.

‘Hove might be below us in the league but they are a difficult proposition on their own patch.

‘It is the sort of game where it will be the team that remains focused and keeps its discipline that comes out on top.

‘Our discipline has improved in recent weeks, though we have still had too many yellow cards this season.

‘There is no surer way to defeat than playing periods with 13 or 14 players.

‘Self-discipline will be hugely important in what could easily become a bit of a dogfight.’

Josh Blackburn returns on the wing after doing well as a replacement against Brighton.

In the forwards, Dan Roberts and Luke Barfoot replace unavailable pair Niall Copeland and Ollie O’Gorman.

Tyler Anchor comes in for his first start of the season in the back row.

‘We have shown that we can score tries but have also had a tendency to go to sleep for spells in games,’ said Knight.

‘It happened against Brighton and that allowed them to come back at us.

‘We need an 80-minute performance.’

Havant: O’Brien, Blackburn J, Brierley, Knight, Blackburn L, Sweeney, Morris, Marks, Cooksley, Ward-Golden, Neil, Roberts, Goodger, Anchor, Barfoot L. Replacements : Powell, Bruce, Wilks