By: Paul Hopkins
A four try All Whites claimed a fantastic bonus point victory over Newport in an exciting affair to reignite their Indigo Group Premiership campaign.
In the opening stages scrum half Luke Crane stole possession at the base of the ruck, and box kicked ahead for impressive winger Lloyd Lewis to chase, but the bounce wasn’t kind to him, and Swansea were able to clear the danger.
Newport’s policy of getting the ball out wide to Lewis threatened to pay off on a number of occasions, but an over eager chase by the home side gifted Swansea a penalty on halfway, with fly half Rhys Jones choosing to take on a tricky effort at goal. The fly half managed the distance, but his kick strayed wide of the post.
A miscued high kick by scrum half Gareth J Rees did the Whites no harm as number eight Cai Davies collected the ball to start an attack for the visitors, with Gareth J Rees and centre Joe Thomas combining to send winger Matthew Jenkins over for a try under the posts. Rhys Jones converted.
The visitors gave away a penalty at the restart when support failed to catch up with flanker Joe Greaves. Fly half Carwyn Penny chipped into the corner, but flanker Callum Bowden harassed Crane at the resulting maul, forcing him to spill the ball forward, although Newport were awarded the put in due to an early knock on.
The Black and Ambers got the ball quickly out of an advancing scrum, and despite an excellent defensive effort, the try finally came via Lewis, who collected a looping pass out wide to score. Penny converted.
Joe Thomas spun out of a tackle and made 20 yards downfield, with hooker Owen Thomas in support, although the visitors were unable to recycle the ball and gave away a penalty.
Penny found touch on the Swansea 22 with a penalty after the visitors failed to roll away in the tackle. A well worked rolling maul made five metres, but the home attackers were penalised for a double tackle.
Centre Iestyn Galton glided through weak Swansea tackling as the home side threatened to grab a second try, but in fact it was almost the visitors who benefited, but for winger Harvey James being unable to hold onto his attempted interception.
A powerful Newport scrummaging effort created space out wide for Crane to pop up a pass to Lewis, who dashed over in the corner for an unopposed try. Penny converted.
The Black and Ambers made a calamitous error by not collecting the restart and the visitors were awarded a penalty after centre Jake Lloyd committed a professional foul. Rhys Jones dinked the ball into the corner and a superb lineout take by lock Lloyd Ashley resulted in Owen Thomas crashing over from a maul. Rhys Jones converted.
A neat move by the Swansea backs gained a decent attacking position and a clever delayed pass by Rhys Jones almost sent Matthew Jenkins racing away, but he was telegraphed by the Newport defence, and the move brought down soon after.
Half-time:- Newport 14-14 Swansea
A superb 50-22 by Penny gave Newport an attacking position within the opening minutes of the second half, but Lloyd failed to get the vital pass away, allowing Swansea to clear.
Joe Thomas made a superb break through the middle, but took the wrong option by chipping to the corner, with the ball beating James into touch.
A mistake by flanker Rhys Jenkins near his own line gifted Swansea an attacking scrum. Centre Osian Knott took a crash ball but the Newport defence held firm, until a floated Rhys Jones pass out wide was taken by James, who touched down for his side’s third try. Rhys Jones dragged the conversion wide of the post.
A well angled kick by Penny found touch a few metres from the Swansea line for another 50-22. A well worked lineout almost resulted in a home try, but the All Whites were able to hold hooker Tyler Olding up over the line.
The Swansea defence initially struggled to get full back Elliot Frewen down, but actually managed to regain possession moments later, and earned a penalty when the Newport defence failed to roll way after the tackle.
It was dreamland for the visitors moments later when a superb burst down the wing by Matthew Jenkins caught the Black and Ambers’ defence asleep, and he found the equally pacey Joe Thomas on his shoulder, who sprinted clear to score a bonus point try. Rhys Jones converted.
Joe Thomas made another break and was supported by replacement scrum half Rhodri Lewis, but he dropped the ball under pressure, although the Newport clearance kick went straight into touch on the full.
The home side took a quick tap penalty with Lloyd racing towards the line, but he was well tackled. The Black and Ambers still managed to recycle possession though and a well worked move by the backs saw Frewen take a long pass to score. Penny converted.
Frewen took a mistimed box kick by replacement scrum half Jordan Howells and the home side looked to attack, but had a man brought down after a chip ahead. Lucky not to get a yellow card, the Whites were penned inside their own five metre line, but a poor lineout spared their blushes.
Joe Thomas made another run, but the supporting replacement prop Ryan Jones dropped the ball under little pressure, gifting the home side a scrum on halfway. The visitors were unable to cope with the Newport scrum and gave away a penalty, although the resulting lineout was poor by the home side.
A superb 50-22 kick in the dying minutes kept the Black and Ambers’ hopes alive, but an attempted interception by the visitors was knocked forward, sparking the end of the game, much to the visitors’ relief.
Next up for Newport is a trip to Aberavon, while Swansea face a trip to North Wales to face RGC 1404.
Full-time:- Newport 21-26 Swansea
Tries:- Lloyd Lewis (19, 29), Elliot Frewen (70)
Cons:- Carwyn Penny (20, 30, 71)
Tries:- Matthew Jenkins (13), Owen Thomas (33), Harvey James (52), Joe Thomas (61)
Cons:- Rhys Jones (14, 34, 62)
Venue:- Newport Stadium, Newport
Weather:- Light cloud, 17C
Referee:- Elliot Mayor
Man of the match:- Joe Thomas
15 Elliot Frewen
14 Steff Gibson (rep: Lewis Bates 66)
13 Iestyn Galton
12 Jake Lloyd (rep: Dafydd Buckland 71)
11 Lloyd Lewis
10 Carwyn Penny
9 Luke Crane (rep: Jordan Howells 58)
1 Tom Workman (rep: Aaron Dowse 63)
2 Tyler Olding (rep: Wade Langley 71)
3 Garin Harris (rep: Nathan Evans 79)
4 Elliott Ferriman (rep: Nick Thomas 67)
5 Josh Skinner
6 Rhys Jenkins
7 Josh Reid (rep: Kyle Tayler 54)
8 Ben Roach ©
16 Wade Langley
17 Aaron Dowse
18 Dan Suter
19 Nick Thomas
20 Kyle Tayler
21 Dafydd Buckland
22 Lewis Bates
23 Jordan Howells
15 Gareth O Rees
14 Matthew Jenkins
13 Joe Thomas
12 Osian Knott
11 Harvey James
10 Rhys Jones
9 Gareth J Rees (rep: Rhodri Lewis 60)
1 Freddie Chapman (rep: Ed Thompson 71)
2 Owen Thomas
3 Kian Hire (rep: Ellis Fackrell 31 (rep: Ryan Jones 41))
4 Lloyd Ashley
5 Matt Dodd
6 Joe Greaves
7 Callum Bowden ©
8 Cai Davies (rep: Scott Jenkins 34)
16 Finn Thomas
17 Ed Thompson
18 Ellis Fackrell
19 Ryan Jones
20 Scott Jenkins
21 Rhodri Lewis
22 Marcus Brown
23 Willis Wood