Newport went into this game with yet another new centre
partnership and a late withdrawal by Dan Griffiths with flu meant that Nathan
Williams was joined by Tom Riley back from the Dragons with Chris Wannell switching back to outside-half
to face a strong looking Cardiff RFC team which featured a number of former
B&A players. Cardiff hadn’t lost away this season while Newport hadn’t lost at home so which record would go? A further
incentive for Cardiff was the fact that they have never won at Rodney Parade
since the semi-pro era in 2003/4 and they even lost in the previous season
A first min penalty by No
10 Chris Wannell was missed but he made amends on 6 mins to put Newport 3-0 ahead. Two mins later Cardiff No 10 playing his 58th
consecutive match since Jan 2008 dropped a neat goal to tie the scores. On 11
mins Newport captain Andrew Coombs left the field for a blood
injury and Cardiff’s back row Dan Godfrey was yellow-carded to be
followed two mins later by hooker Garry Horrigan for punching. This put the Cardiff pack under tremendous pressure and on 15 mins
dangerous wing Mike Poole crossed for a try after neat passing from Newport. 20yr old Wannell, who looks a very good prospect, converted
for a 10-3 lead.
Coombs returned on 23 mins
to play a captain’s role even though he was limping at times during the match
and on 25 mins Cardiff returned to full strength but Gareth Wyatt added a
penalty for Newport on 28 mins and Wannell another one on 33 mins. There
then came a period of sustained pressure from Cardiff and the fact that desperate Newport defence kept them out until half time probably won
them the match in the end.
7 mins after the restart, Gareth
Davies added a penalty and former Newport wing Ryan Howells went over on the right on 52 mins.
The conversion was missed but Cardiff were back in the game at 16-11. Paul Williams went
off with a nasty looking eye injury on 60 mins and a Gareth Davies’ penalty on
61 mins brought the score to 16-14.Cardiff had brought on Jamie Ringer and Newport Richard Dale,
Kyle Barrett and Mike Leaman to try to stem Cardiff’s pressure. The changes appeared to be working as Newport got back into the game. Wannell missed a drop goal attempt
on 70 mins but former Cardiff hooker Mike Leaman scored on 72 mins just 3 mins
after coming on. He forced his way over after nice work by Barrett, Riley and
Gareth Davies’ penalty, with the last kick of the
match, gave Cardiff a loser’s bonus point.
Head coach Sven Cronk, said: “Cardiff came back well to cut that advantage to 16-14, but I
was pleased with our overall performance. Our defence was very good after Cardiff had reduced that lead.”
Cardiff head coach Paul Moriarty said: “A lapse in defence
was costly as it brought Newport’s
second try of the match. Down to 13 in that first-half spell made life hard,
but we did get back into the game well.”
The win now moves Newport up to 4th place ahead of champions Cardiff.
Newport : G Wyatt, M Poole (D James 80), T Riley, N
Williams ( R Payne 78), A Awcock, C Wannell, D Walsh ( K Barrett 62), D Pattison,
A Brown (M Leaman 69), G Robinson (L Hunter 75), D Rosser (M Workman 78), A
Jones, S Waldron, A Coombs capt (R Dale 11/23), P Williams (R Dale 60).
Scorers : Tries
- M Poole, M Leaman and C Wannell 2c,2p, G Wyatt 1p.
Cardiff : James Loxton (C Morgan 71) Ryan Howells, Gareth Chapman, Darren Ryan, Jimmy
Norris; Gareth Davies, Tom Slater; Ian George, Garry Horrigan, Kristian Gay (D
Preece 71) Matthew Veater (N Hampson 78) Ashley Sweet, Adam Powell (L Davies
21/25 and J Ringer 57), Dan Godfrey, Rhys Shellard (capt)
Scorers : Try – R Howells and G Davies 3p 1dg.
Yellow cards : D Godfrey 12/23 and G Horrigan 14/25.