SWA report : Newport maintained their record of never having lost to the Quins in an exciting game at Carmarthen Park. The Quins showed a huge improvement on their disastrous start to the premiership campaign last week but it wasn’t quite enough. Still hit by injuries, the Quins dominated the first half, helped by a 9-3 penalty count against the ill-disciplined Black and Ambers, and they established a handy 14-9 lead by half- time which could have been more. Debutant James Stephenson was their standout player and he put them in front a minute after the start with a superb 50-metre penalty which followed a smart break from his own 22 by Gareth Morgan, who kicked a second Quins penalty soon afterwards. Pat Leach almost made the line for Newport but his pass didn’t go to hand; a penalty followed from a ruck on the home line and Rhys Jones kicked the easy goal. Back came the Quins and pressurised the Newport defence which allowed Stephenson the room to drop a smart goal to restore the Quins’ six- point lead, which was short-lived as Jones kicked his second penalty from 35 metres after a scrum collapsed. Barely out of the first quarter and the Quins scored the first try of the game by Stephenson from a close- range ruck. Two minutes later Jones kicked his third penalty and after that the pace of the game slackened, although the Quins were still good value for their 14-9 interval lead.
The second half was a different story as Newport started well and took the lead with a controversial penalty try that swung the game in their favour. From a penalty they kicked to touch rather than go for goal and then set up a ruck near the home line from the line-out that followed, and referee Jonathan Mason immediately signalled a penalty try, which Jones converted. Five minutes later, Phillips was yellow-carded for killing the ball at a ruck, and while the Quins were down to 14 men, Newport struck again when their outstanding player Adam Hughes burst through a gap in midfield, and although he was stopped near the line he regained his feet to dive over, and Jones converted. That’s the way it stayed until the last minute, when Scott Williams sent Hughes away unopposed with a smart reverse pass and the try was converted once again by Jones.
Afterwards Newport coach Sven Cronk said: “I’m happy with the result but not with the penalty count in the first half which allowed the Quins into the game. We didn’t run at the inside shoulder and generally made it easy for them to defend. The second half was a much better display and we played some nice rugby.”