Three ingredients are key to Havant survival recipe

Graeme Frith scores a try against Bracknell
Graeme Frith scores a try against Bracknell
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Adam King has called for hard work, confidence and a killer touch as Havant aim to make the most of home comforts tomorrow.

The director of rugby highlighted the crucial combination as his men prepare to host Staines in the final fixture of the season at Hooks Lane.

And with their National League status hanging by a thread, it is a must-win clash for Havant.

With just three games remaining in division three London & south east, the south coast club are one place and four points above the drop zone.

Hampshire rivals Basingstoke are the side scrambling to jump clear of the relegation places as the duo fight for survival.

Victory for Havant over Staines would put themselves firmly in the driving seat, especially if Basingstoke lost to visitors Dorking.

However, director of rugby King is expecting another nerve-jangling afternoon.

‘This is a massive game and the right result can give us the edge,’ said King.

‘The relegation issue is going down to the wire in a very competitive league.

‘This time last year we would have been home and dry with the number of points we have.

‘But it looks like a team could get more than 50 points and still be relegated, which is unheard of.

‘For us it needs to be more than just going out there and keeping our nerve.

‘We musn’t allow the situation to weigh us down and must go out and play our rugby.

‘Three things will get us to safety, hard work on the pitch, having the confidence to play our rugby and being clinical when we have opportunities to score.’

Havant were disappointed to lose at fifth-placed Gravesend last week.

After getting into an excellent position midway through the second half, a poor 20 minutes against a powerful pack proved fatal.

King knows his men cannot afford to repeat such a lapse this weekend.

But if the forwards can provide enough ball, the home side have the pace and quality in the backs to hurt opponents.

Havant already boast a win at Staines this season and, having also won their past two home games, head into the contest full of confidence.

King expects to field a blend of experience and youth, with the return of a few old heads up front.

He hopes to have experienced back-row forward Graeme Frith in the starting line-up.

Frith continued his rehabilitation from a knee injury with 20 minutes at Gravesend.

With Graeme Butterworth and Gavin Hart also in the line-up, it will give Havant a more experienced look.

Young Academy hooker Rob Elsmore is back from his Hampshire under-20 duty but King is waiting on the fitness of prop forward Tom Wells, who has a shoulder injury.

‘This is our final home game and with no international rugby as a distraction, I am hoping we get a big turn out for such an important game,’ said King.

‘It makes a big difference to the players and the Havant faithful can make it an intimidating place for visitors to play.

‘It is important we maintain National League rugby on the south coast.

‘There is no way Staines will be coming to us to take it easy, though.

‘They are a well-organised outfit and we will have to work hard for any rewards.

‘Ideally, we can pick up four or five of the points on offer which could put us eight or nine points clear with two games to play.

‘We can’t rely on others – our fate remains in our own hands.

‘If we win our last three games we will be safe.

‘If we don’t win this one we could find ourselves in a whole world of trouble.’

Havant: Keyte, Robinson J, Morris, Stenhouse, Duke, McSheveney, Davenport L, Wells, Elsmore, Wheeler, Butterworth, Neil, Hart, Frith, Horn, Barfoot, Porter, Cutting, Knight.