2005/2006 Principality Premiership
Newport 26 v 13 Aberavon
03 May 2006 - Rodney Parade, Newport

Match Report

Newport 26 Aberavon 13 : Welsh Premier League

The biggest cheer of the night went to popular Newport No 8 Rhys Jones who settled the match in his last home appearance before joining the IRB as an analyst with his super 69th-min try. Newport had let a 21-0 lead slip and allowed Aberavon to get back to 21-13.

Newport started well and in the 3rd min flanker Chris Davies crossed from a rolling maul for Dan Griffiths to convert. Newport seemed to be in control and Skewen debutant Mark Harvey saved one try and play switched to the other end and a try looked on only for Chris Davies to turn his man in the tackle and cause him to drop the ball. The ball was spun out to Rhys Shorney who made ground before ending with Newport scrum-half Alex Walker who went over under the posts for Griffiths to again convert. Newport’s backs were looking sharp and some good inter-passing from the halfway line saw Will Kershaw-Naylor send an inside pass for debutant centre Simon Rosser of Cardiff University to go clear for a third try and Griffiths again converted to take his Newport career total to 900pts in 92 games. Aberavon had their best period just before the break with wing Richard Carter and prop Anthony Edwards crossing.

After the interval, Jamie Davies added a penalty for Aberavon and Newport were now starting to struggle and only a fine Kershaw-Naylor tackle halted Carter in the corner flag as the Aberavon pack had their best spell. Then came Rhys “Jimmy” Jones who shrugged off several tacklers as he ran from the half way line for a fine solo try in the 69 min that brought the home crowd to their feet. They rose again when first Jones and then skipper Rhys Shorney , who is retiring, left the field in the final minutes. Newport coach David Rees said: "We played really well for the first 30 mins - very similar to the way we played throughout last season, with plenty of continuity and width to our game. We then conceded some points but Rhys Jones put us back on top with his great try. It was fitting that he should score because he put in a typical top-notch performance and never stopped running all night. If he ever decides to return to Wales to play rugby, we hope he will come straight back to Newport." Rees also had warm praise for Shorney and the rest of the players who have "stuck with it" throughout a challenging season when Newport often battled to field a settled side. "After the disappointment of our cup exit against Maesteg we have bounced back in style and with just one more remaining game at Llanelli we could still clinch fifth place in the league", he said. Rees himself is stepping down after two seasons as Newport's coach to concentrate on his role as one of the Dragons' assistant coaches. "I want to thank the players in particular and everyone at the club for the support they have given me," he added.

Official : Tim Hayes (Wales)

Newport Aberavon