By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea were unable to get the better of the elements, and a tough Black and Ambers side, as they fell to a low scoring defeat at Rodney Parade.
Playing with the aid of a gale force wind and driving rain at their backs, Newport enjoyed much of the opening territorial advantage, but flanker Josh Skinner held onto possession for too long after the tackle, surrendering possession.
A short lineout found lock Jon Fox at the front and the home side were penalised for offside in midfield. Fellow second row Matt Dodd collected the close range lineout, but lost the ball forward.
A miscued penalty kick to touch by debutant fly half Steffen Williams held up in the wind and bounced infield into the arms of winger Gareth Rees, but the Swansea pack was slow to arrive and Newport were awarded a relieving penalty.
Number eight Matthew Reed claimed possession against the head of a scrum and set up a Black and Ambers’ attack, but lock Andrew Mann spilled the ball forward under pressure.
Half back Josh Guy sprinted clear of a scrappy scrum and chipped ahead into the twenty-two for Ryan Griffiths to chase, but the winger was unable to gather the ball and the move broke down.
A grubber kick by Skinner was successfully chased down by the home forwards and Guy was forced into a hurried clearance. However, from the lineout lock Joe Bartlett held on in the tackle.
The Swansea pack battered the Newport defence and earned a penalty when centre J Rhys Williams proved too much to handle. From the set piece Steffen Williams attempted a drop goal, which failed to even reach the posts against a strong wind.
The first points of the match came on the 24th minute mark, courtesy of a Matt O’Brien penalty goal. But the fly half missed a long range attempt moments later.
A powerful scrum by the Newport eight pushed their Swansea counterparts backwards at the rate of knots. O’Brien’s touch finder sailed over the dead ball line though.
Flanker Jon Vaughan held onto possession after the tackle after the Whites attempted to run out of defence and O’Brien doubled his side’s lead with a penalty goal.
Winger Jonny Morris made a rare line break down the wing and forced the visitors to kill the ball. O’Brien chose to kick at goal and his decision proved the right one as he booted Newport into a 9-0 half time lead.
Half-time:- Newport 9 Swansea 0
A calamitous handling error by full back Geraint O’Driscoll gifted Swansea a scrum just five metres out from the Newport line. Guy tried to go alone down the blindside, but was knocked back. J Rhys Williams charged forward and earned a penalty. Guy took a quick tap and go, but Steffen Williams wasn’t on the same page and dropped the ball.
Offside in midfield gave Swansea a penalty chance and Steffen Williams opted to kick at goal, but he dragged his effort wide.
A well weighted crossfield kick by Steffen Williams almost fell into the hands of number eight Morgan Morris, who was in space, but the ball evaded him into touch.
A powerful burst by hooker Dewi Lake forced Newport to kill the ball and Steffen Williams found touch deep inside the twenty-two with his penalty kick. Guy darted forward from the lineout and the Black and Ambers’ forwards dived over the top of a ruck. Steffen Williams kicked the penalty goal.
With Newport on the backfoot, O’Brien superbly found touch deep inside the Swansea twenty-two with a clever grubber kick. A mistake at the lineout gave the home side a close range scrum, but replacement scrum half Ryan James fumbled at the base of a ruck to give the visitors a lifeline.
Swansea tried their best to clinch victory and managed to spark a dangerous looking maul, but accidental offside brought an end to the move and Newport were able to celebrate a hard fought victory, while the visitors settled for a losing bonus point.
Next up for Newport is a trip to Ebbw Vale, while Swansea host Carmarthen.
Full-time:- Newport 9 Swansea 3
Pens:- Matt O’Brien (24, 38, 40+2)
Pens:- Steffen Williams (62)
Venue:- Rodney Parade
Referee:- Aled Evans
Weather:- Heavy rain, 12C
Man of the match:- Kyle Tayler
15 Geraint O’Driscoll
14 Jon Morris
13 Chay Smith
12 Matt McGovern
11 Elliot Frewen (rep: David Richards 58)
10 Matt O’Brien
9 Geraint Watkin (rep: Ryan James 55)
1 Dan Preece (rep: Will Evans 63)
2 Henry Palmer
3 Tom Piper (rep: Garin Harris 61)
4 Andrew Mann (rep: Dan Partridge 55)
5 Joe Bartlett
6 Josh Skinner (rep: Lewis Smout 78)
7 Kyle Tayler
8 Matthew Reed (rep: Rhys Jenkins 55)
16 Lewis Smout
17 Will Evans
18 Garin Harris
19 Dan Partridge
20 Rhys Jenkins
21 Ryan James
22 Haydn Palmer
23 David Richards
15 Josh Thomas
14 Gareth Rees
13 R Rhys Williams
12 J Rhys Williams
11 Ryan Griffiths (rep: Ben Cambriani 61)
10 Steffen Williams (rep: Luke Griffiths 78)
9 Josh Guy (rep: Tom Ham 78)
1 Jack Powell (rep: Richard Murphy 67)
2 Dewi Lake (rep: Paul John 68)
3 Greg Cunniffe (rep: Mitchell Walsh 52-75)
4 Jon Fox ©
5 Matt Dodd
6 Jon Vaughan (rep: Duane Eager 63)
7 Callum Bowden (rep: Charlie Davies 58)
8 Morgan Morris
16 Paul John
17 Richard Murphy
18 Mitchell Walsh
19 Charlie Davies
20 Duane Eager
21 Tom Ham
22 Luke Griffiths
23 Ben Cambriani