SWA report : After being pipped 19-l7 at Cardiff midweek, Newport looked in with a good chance of victory at Parc y Scarlets before Llanelli substitute centre Steve Martin scored the winning try in the 6th and final minute of stoppage time, a try that was converted by Dan Newton.
Outside a hushed changing room, Black and Ambers team manager Mike Sage said: “We are very disappointed.” And head coach Sven Cronk had only one word: “Gutted.”
Some fans may debate how much Newport missed the back row influence of skipper Andrew Coombs, called up by the Dragons for their Magners League clash at Glasgow yesterday. Yet the Black and Ambers still came very close to recording the double over Llanelli, who they beat 23-17 at Rodney Parade earlier in the campaign. “Newport deserve credit for the way they played,” said Llanelli head of rugby Anthony Buchanan. But I was obviously pleased with our display as we have been suffering badly with injuries.”
Another losing bonus point was cruel consolation for Newport, who matched Llanelli’s tally of three tries and recovered from 23-17 to lead 27-23. Outside half Gareth Wyatt’s second penalty and conversion of a try by lock Adam Brown that capped tremendous pressure seemed likely to clinch matters before Martin’s try and a conversion with the last kick of the match. Wyatt finished with 17 points – three conversions, two penalties and a try.
His try, just before the interval as Llanelli’s lead was cut to l6-14, came as home hooker Rhys Lawrence was in the sin bin for what Bridgend referee James Jones called a technical infringement. Centre Richard Payne, capping a sweeping move to the left, scored Newport’s first try for a 5-3 lead in five minutes. Wing Chris Keenan pounced for the opening home try 22 minutes later when he intercepted from over halfway.
Newport lost wing Mike Poole with a scratched eye early in the second half and number eight Dan McShane went off right at the end for stitches in a head cut.