A dominate Swansea pack helped their side to a well deserved victory over Newport at a wet and windy St Helen’s.
While the All Whites have already mathematically been condemned to bottom place in the Premiership, the manner of their win today will have undoubtedly pleased their coaches and supporters alike.
The home side almost scored a try inside the first five minutes when lock Alun Evans charged down a clearance kick, but a pass that sent flanker James Bija in the clear was deemed to be forward.
Centre Aled Jenkins made a break into the heart of the Newport defence and forced them offside at the breakdown. Nicky J Thomas kicked the resulting penalty goal.
The full back had an opportunity to double his side’s lead moments later when the Black and Ambers’ defence were caught offside at the ruck, but he dragged his effort from half way wide of the posts.
A mini break by Nicky J Thomas forced the Newport defence to pile over the top of the ruck to illegally protect the ball and the full back made them pay by kicking a penalty.
Swansea were awarded yet another penalty on 18 minutes when the Newport forwards dived over the top of a ruck but Nicky J Thomas’ effort from a few metres inside his half shaded wide of the post.
The home side completely dominated the opening 25 minutes and the impressive number eight Dan Baker broke clear from the back of a scrum to score a well deserved try. Nicky J Thomas missed the conversion.
The Black and Ambers got their first points on the board after 27 minutes through a Geraint O’Driscoll penalty goal when the Whites’ defence crept offside in midfield.
The Black and Ambers battered the Swansea line just before half time with number eight Ross Coombs, winger Owen Broad and flanker Oliver Griffiths desperately close to scoring, only for the home side to crucially steal the ball and allow Nicky J Thomas to clear.
Half-time:- Swansea 11 Newport 3
The visitors continued their momentum at the start of the second half when a break by centre Dom Franchi caught out the Swansea defence, forcing them offside. O’Driscoll kicked the resulting penalty.
Both hooker Scott Otten and Baker came close to scoring before Newport lock Brendan Lampitt was yellow carded for killing the ball. Nicky J Thomas added the three points for his side.
O’Driscoll kept his side in the hunt with a penalty goal after the Swansea defence crept offside in midfield.
The Whites’ pack was dominant throughout the match and this was no more evident than in the 56th minute when they sent the Newport pack backwards at a rate of knots, forcing a penalty. Fly half Luke Price kicked the three points.
Four minutes later Price missed a penalty attempt at goal when lock Jamie Sullivan was sent to the sin bin for entering a ruck from an offside position.
A moment of magic by Price led to the Whites’ second try when he ripped the ball from a Newport player and chipped into the corner for the pacy winger Andrew Claypole to chase and score. Price converted from out wide to seal victory.
Next up for Swansea is a trip to Aberavon, while Newport travel to Llanelli.
Full time:- Swansea 24 Newport 9
Star man: Dan Baker
Referee: Ben Whitehouse
Tries:- Baker (25), Claypole (79)
Cons:- Price (80)
Pens:- Nicky J Thomas (8, 14), Price (67)
Pens:- O’Driscoll (27, 44, 59)
Y cards:- Lampitt (55), Sullivan (69)
15 Nicky J Thomas (rep: Lewis Williams 45)
14 Andrew Claypole
13 Aled Jenkins (rep: Chris Shelmerdine 40+2)
12 David Watts (rep: Jake Cole 51)
11 Richard Williams
10 Luke Price
9 Jon Preddy
1 Matthew Norman (rep: Nicky Smith 60)
2 Scott Otten (rep: Paul John 58)
3 Nicky Thomas
4 James McKenna
5 Alun Evans (rep: Calum Brennan 80+1)
6 James Bija
7 Matthew Davies
8 Dan Baker
16 Paul John
17 Nicky Smith
18 Ian Williams
19 Callum Brennan
20 Rob Dudley-Jones
21 Jake Cole
22 Chris Shelmerdine
23 Lewis Williams
15 Alan Awcock
14 Owen Broad (rep: Tonderai Chavhanga 45)
13 Geraint O’Driscoll
12 Dom Franchi (rep: Rhys Downes 52)
11 Elliot Frewen (rep: Will Hodnett 70)
10 Tom Hancock
9 James Leadbeater
1 David Pattison (rep: Jamie Jeune 75)
2 Andrew Brown (rep: Dale Rogers 60)
3 Gethin Robinson (rep: Alex Jeffries 60)
4 Brendan Lampitt (rep: Joseph Davies 80+1)
5 Jamie Sullivan
6 Craig Attwell
7 Oliver Griffiths
8 Ross Coombs (rep: Tom Brown 45)
16 Dale Rogers
17 Jamie Jeune
18 Tom Brown
19 Joseph Davies
20 Tonderai Chavhanga
21 Will Hodnett
22 Rhys Downes
23 Alex Jeffries