- Swansea exit cup at first stage
- Newport dump Whites out of cup for second successive campaign
- Two late tries not enough as Black and Ambers ease to victory
By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea’s national cup campaign came to a premature end at the hands of a hard-working Newport side.
The home side took an early lead through a penalty goal by fly half James Davies when the visitors’ defence crept offside following a chip and chase by winger Andrew Claypole.
The Black and Ambers responded and a super offload by centre Tom Pascoe saw fellow centre Chay Smith race up to half way. The Whites’ defence was penalised for diving over the top of a ruck, but the visitors were unable to make the most of the chance and were turned over at the maul.
Full back Geraint O’Driscoll then sent winger Elliot Frewen on a run out wide. Scrum half Ryan James took play into the twenty-two, forcing centre Rhys R Williams to kill the ball, giving referee Aled Evans no option but to show him a yellow card. Fly half Matt O’Brien kicked the resulting penalty goal.
Flanker Kyle Tayler spotted a gap at the ruck and raced forward, but he spilled the ball in the tackle.
Hooker Will Evans was penalised for offside so James Davies was able to find touch on the Newport twenty-two. However, flanker Max George picked up a wayward lineout throw and raced 30 metres upfield. Swansea managed to secure a turnover, but an ambitious pass out wide was picked up by Frewen, who hacked through to score. O’Brien converted.
The mercurial fly half then made another break down the wing and threw a deft pass to Smith, but he lost possession on the twenty-two.
Following the setback, the home side mounted an attack through powerful breaks by prop Tom Sloane and number eight Jon Fox. Scrum half Rhodri Wells threw a pass into midfield, but it was knocked forward by a Newport hand, giving Swansea a scrum five.
Lock Sam Kiley, playing in his 200th match for the club, was turned over, but O’Brien failed to find touch with his clearance kick. During the melee, the All Whites were awarded a penalty, which James Davies duly converted.
Half-time:- Swansea 6 Newport 10
The Black and Ambers extended their lead after half time when Frewen sprinted from his own twenty-two up to the try line, but he was tackled. O’Brien tried to dummy his way over the whitewash, but the backs got quick ball out wide for O’Driscoll to score. O’Brien converted.
When the home side were penalised for offside at the ruck, O’Brien had an opportunity to kick his side 14 points ahead, but he fluffed his lines as his effort at goal sailed wide of the posts.
In fact, it was a few minutes to forget for the fly half as he also failed with two drop goal attempts and another penalty after Swansea were guilty of a high tackle.
The visitors were soon back in full command though when Smith sprinted down the wing, taking out a couple of tacklers, to allow winger Jon Morris a free run in to score. O’Brien converted.
A loose kick by O’Driscoll was picked up by winger Dan Howells, who was tackled on half way. The Whites continued to mount a rare foray into Newport territory, but were finally turned over before they could make the most of it.
With ten minutes left on the clock second row Rhys Cresswell was sent to the sin-bin for killing a Swansea attack. Full back Gareth Walters kicked to the corner, but the Whites’ forwards lost the ball at the ruck.
The home side looked to take full advantage of the yellow card and replacement centre Jedd Evans regathered a loose ball to take the Whites into the twenty-two. He offloaded to substitute lock Rory Gallagher, but he held on after the tackle and Newport were able to clear.
Swansea grabbed their first try in the 79th minute when replacement hooker Paul John charged up to the line, before the backline got quick ball out wide for Rhys R Williams to score. Walters converted.
With the last play of the game, the home side scored a second consolation try when O’Driscoll was turned over trying to run out of defence and Jedd Evans took full advantage to touch down over the line. Walters converted.
Next up for Swansea is a home match against Bargoed in the Premiership – in four weeks’ time, while Newport have a wait to see who they will face in the cup second round.
Full-time:- Swansea 20 Newport 24
Tries:- Rhys R Williams (79), Jedd Evans (80+2)
Cons:- Gareth Walters (80, 80+3)
Pens:- James Davies (4, 37)
Yellow cards:- Rhys R Williams (15)
Tries:- Elliot Frewen (24), Geraint O’Driscoll (47), Jon Morris (54)
Cons:- Matt O’Brien (25, 48, 55)
Pens:- Matt O’Brien (15)
Yellow cards:- Rhys Cresswell (71)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Referee:- Aled Evans
Weather:- Light cloud, 5C
Man of the match:- Elliot Frewen
15 Gareth Walters
14 Andrew Claypole
13 Rhys R Williams
12 J Rhys Williams (rep: Owen Howe 73)
11 Dan Howells
10 James Davies (rep: Jedd Evans 55)
9 Rhodri Wells (rep: Josh Guy 64)
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Jack Powell 73)
2 Tom Ball (rep: Paul John 48)
3 Fenton Holder (rep: Chris Thomas 21)
4 Sam Kiley (rep: Rory Gallagher 73)
5 Tudor Hughes (rep: Jon Vaughan 48)
6 Jay Williams
7 Ben Davies
8 Jon Fox
16 Paul John
17 Jack Powell
18 Chris Thomas
19 Rory Gallagher
20 Jon Vaughan
21 Josh Guy
22 Jedd Evans
23 Owen Howe
15 Geraint O’Driscoll
14 Jon Morris
13 Chay Smith
12 Tom Pascoe (rep: Adam Sabri 80+1)
11 Elliot Frewen
10 Matt O’Brien (rep: Haydn Simons 62)
9 Ryan James (rep: Ryan Bates 62)
1 Nicky Boyce (rep: Garin Harris 62)
2 Will Evans (rep: Matt Prosser 51)
3 Tom Piper (rep: Evan Whitson 62)
4 Rhys Creswell
5 Joe Bartlett (rep: Andrew Mann 51)
6 Max George
7 Kyle Tayler
8 Alex Everett
16 Matt Prosser
17 Evan Whitson
18 Garin Harris
19 Adam Brown
20 Andrew Mann
21 Ryan Bates
22 Haydn Simons
23 Adam Sabri