- Heartbreak for Swansea as Newport claim last gasp victory
- Bonus point win for much changed Black and Ambers
- Whites show great spirit in agonising defeat
By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea fell to a heart breaking last minute defeat to Newport at Rodney Parade in a match they had full control of with 15 minutes left on the clock.
A scrummaging infringement by the All Whites’ pack gave Newport an early penalty with fly half Louis O’Brien finding touch on the twenty-two. From a ruck, scrum half Ryan Bates dummied his way over to score. O’Brien converted.
Debutant fly half Dafydd Manley made good yards up to the twenty-two as Swansea looked to attack, but a mix up between prop Tom Sloane and flanker Jon Vaughan brought an end to the move.
Swansea were awarded a penalty when the Newport forwards dived over the top of a ruck and full back Owen Howe kicked the three pointer.
A dangerous tackle gave the visitors another penalty and Howe made no mistake with his effort at goal to reduce the gap to a single point.
A superb counterattack by the Black and Ambers saw Bates race down the wing and he chipped ahead, but was obstructed illegally so O’Brien kicked to the corner from the resulting penalty. Hooker Evan Whitson failed to throw the lineout straight though.
Centre Jake Randall raced out of defence up to half way as he shrugged off a few tackles, but support was too slow to arrive and he held onto the ball for too long on the ground.
O’Brien should have kicked his side four points ahead after the Whites were penalised for offside in midfield, but he horribly missed a relatively simple effort at goal.
Number eight Steffan Jones powered over half way, but Manley’s kick was charged down by a Newport chaser. Howe initially failed to deal with the danger and lock James Little hacked the ball forward, but the full back made up for the error by tracking back to allow centre Richard Fussell to clear.
After a short period of pressure Swansea got what they deserved when hooker Sion Jones powered over for a try from a 25 metre rolling maul. Howe converted.
Steffan Jones dropped the restart and his side were penalised for offside, but O’Brien’s effort at goal sailed well wide of the posts.
Half-time:- Newport 7 Swansea 13
Almost straight from the restart the Black and Ambers were penalised for holding on after the tackle. Howe kicked his side further ahead.
The Whites backed up their excellent start to the half when Steffan Jones charged up the middle to set a platform for Fussell to make a break and send a looping pass out wide for winger Andrew Claypole to score. Howe missed the conversion.
Claypole made a break over half way from a counterattack, but the supporting Sloane threw a pass forward on the twenty-two and Newport were able to clear.
A great lineout take by replacement lock Matt Dodd sent Sloane powering forward. A clever chip through almost saw substitute winger Ben Cambriani touch down in the corner, but the Black and Ambers’ defence managed to ground the ball dead.
Offside in midfield by the home defence gave the Whites another penalty and this time Howe kicked to the corner. A powerful maul up to the line was crucially stopped by the Newport forwards, who saved a certain try.
Hooker Paul John was given a yellow card for killing the ball and O’Brien chose to kick for territory. Newport mauled forward up to the line, but a knock on brought an end to the move.
However, the Black and Ambers hit back with number eight Arron Atkin picking up a loose ball from a ruck to race clear and score. O’Brien converted.
A superb touch finding kick by O’Brien from inside his own half took play up to within five metres of the Swansea line. Scrum half Josh Guy kept his nerve to box kick the ball into touch.
A well worked move by the Newport backs saw replacement scrum half Morgan Evans squeeze over for a try in the corner. O’Brien missed the conversion.
The Whites were penalised for holding on after the tackle and O’Brien kicked to touch, but Steffan Jones crucially stole the lineout.
With the seconds ticking down, the Black and Ambers stole victory from the jaws of defeat with a last gasp try. Replacement winger Matthew Williams sprinted down the wing and was tackled on the twenty-two. Then the home forwards camped on the Swansea line with Little crashing over for a try to break Swansea hearts. O’Brien converted.
Next up for Newport is a cup semi-final against Llandovery, while Swansea host Neath in the Premiership.
Full-time:- Newport 26 Swansea 21
Tries:- Ryan Bates (4), Arron Atkin (69), Morgan Evans (76), James Little (80+8)
Cons:- Louis O’Brien (5, 70 80+9)
Tries:- Sion Jones (37), Andrew Claypole (44)
Cons:- Owen Howe (38)
Pens:- Owen Howe (12, 16, 42)
Yellow cards:- Paul John (67)
Venue:- Rodney Parade, Newport
Referee:- Elfyn Morris Roberts
Weather:- Partly cloudy, 10C, moderate breeze
Man of the match:- Ryan Bates
15 Harri Lang
14 Curtis Ayling (rep: Matthew Williams 60)
13 Matthew McGovern (rep: Adam Tetley 55)
12 Adam Sabri
11 Andrew Evans
10 Louis O’Brien
9 Ryan Bates (rep: Morgan Evans 60)
1 Matthew Prosser (rep: Nicky Boyce 46)
2 Evan Whitson (rep: Louis Tovey 56)
3 Nicky Thomas (rep: Liam Bodman 46)
4 Connor Shefford
5 James Little
6 Josh Reid (rep: Joe Bartlett 46)
7 Joe Cullimore
8 Arron Atkin
16 Louis Tovey
17 Nicky Boyce
18 Liam Bodman
19 Dudley Stead
20 Joe Bartlett
21 Morgan Evans
22 Adam Tetley
23 Matthew Williams
15 Owen Howe
14 Andrew Claypole
13 Richard Fussell
12 Jake Randall
11 Luke Griffiths (rep: Ben Cambriani 47)
10 Dafydd Manley
9 Josh Guy
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Jack Powell 80+3)
2 Sion Jones (rep: Paul John 51)
3 Lewys Bullock (rep: Chris Thomas 26)
4 Owen Morgan
5 Jay Williams (rep: Matt Dodd 47)
6 Jon Vaughan
7 James Parry (rep: Ben Davies 47)
8 Steffan Jones
16 Paul John
17 Jack Powell
18 Chris Thomas
19 Matt Dodd
20 Ben Davies
21 Sam Cambriani
22 Dan Howells
23 Ben Cambriani