Havant 12 – 24 Twickenham

Lacklustre Havant give Twickenham a boost

by Rugby  Reporter

Twickenham grabbed a crucial bonus point win in their battle for London 1 survival as Havant struggle to find their form.

Lacklustre Havant give Twickenham a boost

Havant travelled to Twickenham looking to get back to  winning ways after their loss at Wimbledon last time out.

The Hooks Lane side were forced to field a changed side again with the number of players either injured or unavailable growing. This gave a first league start for James Lindsay in the second row, in the continued absence of Mike Brook, Christian Roberts maintained his place in the back-row and Luke Barfoot, who has only made one start for the Dolphins following more than a year on the sideline, was pressed into service with both Joe Davis and Jarrard Hayler unavailable.

In the backs James Read and Ben Brierley returned to the side and Dave Sweeney was restored to fly-half with Pete Living moving to wing.

Twickenham started the day 3rd from bottom and when the game started they played like a side fighting for league survival. Playing with an intensity and energy that Havant failed to match. Their front five were proving difficult to handle in the scrum and their line-out was providing just enough ball for the backs.

Havant’s challenge increased when on 13 minutes prop Jack Ward-Golden was sent to the sin bin for straying off side at a ruck. It was no surprise when Twickenham grabbed the first score of the day as they broke from a scrum and scored wide on the left.

Much of the rest of the first period was characterised by error strewn play. When Havant did have the ball they lacked any real incision. When the breaks did come they failed to finish moves off and the it was Twickenham that grabbed the second try on the stroke of half time as Havant’s defence was sucked into the breakdown creating an easy run in for the home side.

Half time Twickenham 12 Havant 0

Twickenham started the second period as they had finished the first – lots of endeavor and a real appetite to work for the ball at the breakdown and after 8 minutes they were rewarded with a 3rd try from a driven line-out that started just inside the 22m line.

The home side secured a try bonus point with a 4th try as Havant’s defence just fell off too many tackles.

It looked at this stage as though Twickenham might kick on an d add to their tally. But finally the Havant side seemed to wake up. With Grant Morris on at scrum half there was a lift in intensity and Havant finally started running more directly at the opposition.

Twickenham were clearly tiring and started to give away penalties – one player was sent to the sin-bin but the home side may think they got off lightly as they proceeded to concede 10 penalties in a row trying to slow down Havant’s ball.

Grant Morris grabbed the visitors first score as he finished off a series of drives, Dve Sweeney added the conversion.

Havant were now firmly on the front foot but were battling the clock. Debutant James Lindsay score a well worked try wide on the left but with only 4 minutes left on the clock it proved to be too little too late for Havant.

In what was a disappointing afternoon for his side Coach Will Knight felt that Twickenham deserved their victory,

“I think it was clear from the first whistle how much they wanted this – they played with a great deal of fire and intensity and were good value for the win.”

“We have to regroup this week and put a few things right in training, we lacked a bit of edge out there and when you play like that and  you give teams space to play they will hurt you.”

“The response in the last quarter was better but we should have played like that for 80 minutes. There were some good individual bits and pieces but we lacked cohesion. We have had to make changes in the last couple of games and I think that showed.”

“Next week we face a very good side in Sutton and Epsom and will need to be at our best to be competitive.”