Man of Match : Ross Coombs.
Photos courtesy of Ron Sutcliffe & Simon Latham :
Iwan Davies, SWA writes
NEWPORT’S excellent run continued with a comprehensive bonus point victory over a determined Swansea at Rodney Parade that saw them score five tries. It was their fourth successive victory, the Black and Ambers starting to look like a very decent side. Their head coach Sven Cronk had warned his players not to underestimate Swansea despite the All Whites languishing at the very base of the Premiership.
The visitors’ performance belied their league position because they were certainly no pushovers, showing plenty of guts and spirit – it’s just that Newport are a better side and certainly showed it. However the score was just 20-17 going into the last quarter, Swansea having just missed a golden chance of taking the lead. Their wing Rhys Williams should have scored his second try of the afternoon when he fly hacked on from over halfway. But his football skills let him down with his last touch as he sent the ball dead, showing he is playing in the right side of Swansea and that Michael Laudrup isn’t missing a trick at the Swans. These were jittery times for Newport who had built a commanding 20-3 lead at the interval only to fritter it away all too cheaply. They had gained the upper hand in the first 40 mins, Swansea’s terrible kicking game helping them enormously. The hosts’ outside half Tom Hancock had kicked two penalties and opposite number Sam Davies one before Newport scored a gem of a try superbly finished by wing Alan Awcock. It came after their excellent hooker Andrew Brown secured a great turnover at a ruck in his own half and a lovely break by Hancock had torn Swansea to shreds. Hancock’s conversion made it 13-3 after 33 minutes and Newport got a crucial score on the stroke of half-time when lock Andrew Frampton, who had a fine game in both set piece and loose, powered over for a converted try after Brown had gone close.
If Newport thought they were going to coast to a bonus point, they were rudely awakened by two quick-fire tries softly conceded. Swansea full back Nicky J Thomas scored within seconds of the re-start and some more optional tackling let in wing Williams four minutes later. Davies converted both to erode Newport’s lead to just three points. Had Williams managed to put his team into the lead soon after, it could have been a different game. We will never know. To be fair to Newport, they grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and scored three tries in the last 20 mins to not only win the game, but get the bonus point as well. Full back James Leadbeater finished well in the 60th min as did powerful centre Will Richards five minutes later before rampaging replacement back rower Brendan Lampitt rubbed Swansea’s noses in it near the end with their fifth touchdown.
It was a thoroughly deserved win by a Newport side who again functioned well up front in scrum, lineout and loose, showing once more they have the firepower behind to break down well organised defences. Their next game sees them head to Neath and they will travel to The Gnoll on November 17 with confidence high and more than capable of stretching their unbeaten run to five. Despite the win, Newport remain eighth.