No holidays for Havant boss

Havant head coach Will Knight. Picture: Mick Young (112788-08)
Havant head coach Will Knight. Picture: Mick Young (112788-08)
Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

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Instead of putting his feet up during London one south’s two-week break, coach Will Knight has been on the hunt for Havant’s next first-team stars.

The Hooks Lane outfit face third-placed Gravesend tomorrow having had a fortnight to regroup from a last-gasp 39-37 loss to Sutton & Epsom.

And there may be a few new faces in the fold, with Knight keen to put his reserves and hopefuls through their paces in a bid to fortify his first-team squad.

Despite a replenishment of the ranks, Havant will not travel to Gravesend as favourites – but Knight is adamant his side can leave with points in the bag after a productive break in the schedule.

‘It’s been good as it gives us an opportunity to take a look a number of new players who have joined the club over the last few weeks,’ said Knight.

‘We are lucky enough to have the University of Portsmouth on our doorstep and particularly from that avenue, it’s been very positive.

‘When there are first-team games on every week it makes it difficult to assess whether they can make the step up without relying on feedback from others.

‘But without naming names there are a number of players who have certainly put their hands up for first-team selection.

‘Gravesend are very tough opponents but then we have a run of games against teams mid-table and around us that we should be winning, otherwise we will be in trouble.

‘We will go to Gravesend and look to win, that’s just the mentality of our team.

‘But we are experienced enough in league rugby to know that coming away with something is better than nothing.

‘So we will always be looking for that bonus point.

‘Last time when we were at Gravesend in National League three we were involved in a tight game and turned them over, so our experienced guys certainly know what it takes.’

As well as keeping tabs on player recruitment, Knight has been looking to right the wrongs that saw Havant fall at the last hurdle after conceding a late penalty against Sutton & Epsom.

But he insists his team – who are currently sitting two points above the relegation zone – needs fine-tuning rather than a complete overhaul.

‘The team recognise they are playing good rugby, scoring a lot of points but need to tighten up certain aspects of their game,’ Knight added.

‘If they do that then the wins will come.

‘Our game is all about shape, all about execution.

‘We have played in phases this season where we have played to our game plan very well but when we lose that shape and concentration teams tend to punish us for it.

‘The players know that, the coaches know that, so practice has been about going back to that game plan and refining the way we take risks and decisions.’

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