Photo: Courtesy Ben Evans
By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea’s Welsh Premiership Cup hopes were left hanging by a thread as Newport gained revenge for last week’s defeat with a resounding victory at St Helen’s.
The Black and Ambers were on the front foot immediately when full back Dai Richards picked up a James Davies chip through and made 50 metres upfield, before he was tackled. A long pass out wide by centre Matt O’Brien found winger Elliot Frewen, but his chip ahead was well dealt with by the home side.
Newport were back on the attack soon after and a sharp turn of pace by Richards caught the Swansea defence asleep, allowing lock Craig Hudd to crash over for a try at the next phase. Fly half Will Reed converted.
Swansea tried to hit back when scrum half Harvey Nash made a break from the lineout, but his side lost possession inside the Newport 22 with O’Brien clearing long.
Winger Matthew Jenkins took a pass in midfield and raced through a gap in the Newport defence, but for a second attack in succession, the Black and Ambers secured a vital turnover.
The visitors were soon back at it and winger Lloyd Lewis almost squeezed through a gap in the 22, but an excellent tackle by flanker Harri Deaves earned a relieving penalty.
Jenkins took a clever Dan Edwards crossfield kick and his side were awarded a penalty when the Newport defence failed to roll away after a tackle. Edwards chipped to the corner and a patient build up by the pack saw the ball spread wide for the fly half to score a try which he also converted.
The visitors looked to have retaken the lead when hooker Henry Palmer made good yards in the tackle, allowing scrum half Luke Crane to get quick ball out wide through the backs for Frewen to touch down in the corner, but play was brought back for an All Whites’ scrum.
Dan Edwards took a pass at speed inside his own half and sprinted to within a few metres of the try line, but the Newport defence managed to track back and his inside pass was spilled forward.
Then flanker Tristan Davies made a break from a ruck and the visitors were penalised for killing the ball. Dan Edwards missed the chance to kick his side into the lead though.
Centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler combined well with Deaves as the home side used their strength to get to within a few metres of the Newport line. Further offside gave Dan Edwards another penalty chance and this time he made no mistake as he kicked a three pointer.
Newport retook the lead when prop Garin Harris crashed over from a close range lineout after a superb penalty touch finder by O’Brien. Reed converted.
The try gave the visitors a renewed sense of purpose and Richards enjoyed a run down the wing, with flanker Ryan Woodman and prop Thomas Davies linking up in midfield. Swansea secured a turnover but gave away a penalty which Reed chipped into the corner.
In a devastating blow to the home team, on the stroke of half time lock Josh Skinner took a short range lineout with Palmer crashing over for a third Newport try. Reed converted. Deaves was also yellow carded for his part in bringing down a maul.
Half-time:- Swansea 10-21 Newport
A huge drive by the Newport pack saw the Whites give away a penalty and Reed found touch inside the Swansea 22. Centre Cameron Lewis made a burst and Skinner was held up just short, but Frewen dropped a pass.
Play was brought back for a visitors’ penalty though, which O’Brien again dinked into touch. Following a routine lineout, Skinner burrowed over for a try. Reed converted.
Tristan Davies was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle, reducing the Whites down to 14 men for the second time, but to their credit the home side didn’t concede any points during this time.
Frewen showed good pace to take his side over the 22 and quick work by the backs saw the ball sent out wide through the hands of Hudd and number eight Ben Roach, with O’Brien popping up for the score in the corner. Reed converted.
Try number six followed for the visitors when Woodman took a lineout inside the Swansea 22 and Palmer was driven over the line from close range. Reed missed the conversion.
By this point the Black and Ambers were cutting loose and Richards splitting the Swansea defence again, before he handed a scoring pass to replacement centre Chay Foster-Smith. Reed missed the conversion.
A superb break by replacement scrum half Gareth J Rees began a rare Swansea attack, and with the Newport defence unable to lay a glove on the replacement scrum, he threw a pass out to Jenkins for a late consolation second try. Dan Edwards converted.
Replacement lock Alex Grey was sent to the sidelines for the remainder of the match for committing a professional foul. From the penalty Dan Edwards kicked to the corner, but substitute prop Josh Reynolds stole in to claim a poor lineout.
Full-time:- Swansea 17-45 Newport
Tries:- Dan Edwards (14), Matthew Jenkins (75)
Cons:- Dan Edwards (15, 76)
Pens:- Dan Edwards (34)
Yellow cards:- Harry Deaves (40+6), Tristan Davies (54)
Tries:- Craig Hudd (6), Garin Harris (40+1), Henry Palmer (40+6, 70), Josh Skinner (46), Matt O’Brien (65), Chay Foster-Smith (72)
Cons:- Will Reed (7, 40+2, 40+7, 47, 66)
Yellow cards:- Alex Grey (78)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Light Rain Showers, 15C
Man of the match:- Dai Richards
15 James Davies (rep: Harvey James 23)
14 Tom Florence
13 Hanno Dirksen
12 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
11 Matthew Jenkins
10 Dan Edwards
9 Harvey Nash (rep: Gareth J Rees 51)
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Cameron Jones 57)
2 Elvis Taione (rep: Lewis Lloyd 47)
3 Ellis Fackrell (rep: Richard Murphy 47)
4 Liam Edwards (rep: Chris Thompson 54)
5 Ben Gregory
6 Tristan Davies
7 Harri Deaves (rep: Morgan Morse 67)
8 Morgan Morse (rep: Callum Bowden 54)
16 Lewis Lloyd
17 Richard Murphy
18 Cameron Jones
19 Chris Thompson
20 Callum Bowden
21 Gareth J Rees
22 Chris Morgans
23 Harvey James
15 Dai Richards
14 Elliot Frewen (rep: Jon Morris 71)
13 Cameron Lewis
12 Matt O’Brien (rep: Chay Foster-Smith 69)
11 Lloyd Lewis
10 Will Reed
9 Luke Crane (rep: Dafydd Buckland 69)
1 Thomas Davies (rep: Josh Reynolds 60)
2 Henry Palmer (rep: Jack Gillard 71)
3 Garin Harris (rep: Luke Yendle 60)
4 Craig Hudd
5 Josh Skinner (rep: Josh Reid 57)
6 Ryan Woodman
7 Rhys Jenkins (rep: Alex Grey 45)
8 Ben Roach
16 Jack Gillard
17 Josh Reynolds
18 Luke Yendle
19 Alex Grey
20 Josh Reid
21 Dafydd Buckland
22 Chay Foster-Smith
23 Jon Morris