This was certainly the proverbial game of two halves. In truth Newport were dreadful in the 1st half against bottom of the table Tonmawr who to their credit never gave up for the whole of the match and certainly played their part in an entertaining match.
Newport's problems atarted just before KO when captain Andrew Brown cried off giving young Dale Rogers his first start and he acquitted himself well. Craig Hill took over the captaincy. Newport certainly created try scoring opportunities in the 1st half but failed to take any of them. They over elaborated, did not look for their men, missed passes etc and did all the basics wrong when all that was needed was a bit of steadiness and taking the simple option. The 2nd half was a different story as coach Sven Cronk made - unusually for him - 4 changes at HT. He brought on Leadbeater, Plummer, Jenkins and Pattison and what a difference they made as Newport pulled the match out of the fire and got a bonus point as well.
SWA report :
NEWPORT produced the goods in the second half of an open, attacking game at Rodney Parade to subdue a battling Tonmawr side and get a welcome bonus-point victory in the Principality Premiership.
The first half had seen a catalogue of errors from the Black and Ambers with turnovers conceded, scoring passes put down, overlaps wasted, including an amazing 9-2 one when it seemed harder not to score.
They always looked to have an edge over the visitors but looked intent on wasting it, and it took some stern words from head coach Sven Cronk during the half-time interval to turn things around.
Tonmawr attacked from the start and took an early lead with a penalty by Luke Richards, and followed that with a lovely try as blindside winger Rhys Thomas sliced through the Newport defence to put Scott Hicks over and Richards converted.
Richards added a penalty after 27 minutes before his opposite number Gareth Bowen opened Newport’s account six minutes later.
Richards and Bowen exchanged penalties for Tonmawr to lead 16-6 at the break but, vitally, they had Ieuan Dobbs yellow-carded for a technical offence just before the half-time whistle.
With Cronk’s words stinging their ears, Newport came out for the second half with three replacements, and one of them, Rhys Jenkins, managed a half-break and a backhand pass put former Tonmawr player Elliott Frewen over in the corner but Bowen still managed to convert.
Newport took the lead in the 59th minute when they swung the ball across the line and Frewen sped over for his second try, again converted by Bowen.
Sam Waldron was sent to the sin bin in the 62nd minute, but eight minutes later Newport struck again when burly substitute Scott Williams broke through a couple of tackles to force his way over for a try, converted by Bowen.
Hicks grabbed a second try for Tonmawr after some strong pressure near the home line but Jenkins paved the way for a bonus-point try by the industrious Matthew Pewtner and that denied Tonmawr even a losing bonus point.
Cronk said afterwards: “I’m pleased with a bonus- point win. The changes we made had a big impact and there was a lot to like but also a lot to work on. It was a much better second half after I let them know what I felt at half- time.”
Photos courtesy of Ron Sutcliffe & Simon Latham :