SAM Nash feels Southend are capable of springing a surprise when they host runaway National Two South leaders Hartpury College at Warners Bride tomorrow.

Hartpury are 12 points clear at the top of the table, with 14 wins from 18 games.

But Nash feels the Seasiders – who are fifth in the standings – are definitely capable of coming out on top.

“Obviously being the league leaders Hartpury demand a lot of respect and they did put 50points on us when we last played but the boys have the hunger to reverse this result,” said Nash.

“It’s always hard for visiting teams to get a result at Warners Bridge and we showed enough in the last game against them that we will be able to compete with them to the final whistle and hopefully come up with an upset.”

Hartpury saw off Southend 51-15 in the reverse fixture back in October.

And Nash, who has switched from playing on the wing to line up at centre in the last two games, is not surprised to see them at the top of the table.

“I would say they are the best team we have come up against this season,” said Nash.

“They are well structured with flashy backs but I think if our big forwards get on top they could be in trouble.”

Southend head in to the game on the back of a narrow 27-21 defeat at second placed Canterbury.

Nash was among the Seasiders’ try scorers on the day but was left disappointed by the result.

“It was a frustrating game, they are a great side and in the end they outplayed us,” said Nash.

“It was not the best performance from us but we still had plenty of opportunities to win the game and it’s something we will learn from.”

Nash now hopes to see an immediate improvement as he still believes Southend can still reach the end of the season promotion play-offs.

“We are still in with a chance to fight for the play-off spot, which highlights the importance of winning on Saturday,” said Nash.

“We have a tough couple of weeks ahead of us against top four sides which will ultimately make or break our season.”

But Southend will now have to battle on without influential scrum-half Lee Sandberg who has now left the club to go travelling.

“Lee will be a huge loss, he had a great game on the weekend and we wish him all the best in Canada,” added Nash.

“However, guys like Harry Branch will slot in and do a great job for us so I’m sure we can keep on doing well.”

Southend have also moved swiftly to bolster their options with the addition of Swedish scrum-half Simon Pierce who is likely to start on the bench this weekend.