To add to Newport’s continuing injury problems hooker Mike Leaman was ruled out having suffered an eye-socket injury in training, leaving Newport to nominate prop Gethin Robinson as deputy hooker and no dedicated hooker on the bench. As luck would have it hooker Andrew Brown was yellow-carded on 57 mins while Gethin limped off injured on 58 mins resulting in passive scrums. This was unfortunate for the Black & Ambers as they has more than held their own against the runaway Premier league leaders and were only 10-11 down at the time.
Outside-half Michael Hook kicked a penalty on 20 mins after Neath killed the ball while opposite number Howard Thomas replied on 25 mins when Paul Williams was penalized for not rolling away. On 36 mins Hook found touch close to the Neath line, won the line-out and No 8 and acting captain Andrew Coombes charged over for a try converted by Hook for a HT score of 10-3 to Newport.
Newport flanker Paul Williams was binned on 43 mins for killing the ball
giving Neath a decided edge in the scrums.ing hay at the scrums and Newport's
seven-man scrum conceded ground, leading to Neath captain and No 8 Lee Beach
getting a pushover unconverted try on 45 mins. A penalty from fly-half Howard
Thomas on 51 mins for a
"We competed well for an hour,
but at the end of the day it was an opportunity lost for us," said