Newport RFC 21 Carmarthen Quins RFC 23
Newport's Rodney Parade hoodoo has been broken after seven Premier League visits, and the memory of last seasons 74-33 drubbing is forgotten. THE DREAM GOES ON ! Even with Ian Jones, Lee Williams, James Davies and Jason Harries unavailable on other Rugby duties, coach Louie Tonkin had every confidence in fielding this young side.
In near perfect playing conditions, it was evident from the opening whistle that both sides were going to give the ball plenty of air and it turned out to be both exciting and nail biting for both sets of supporters
Newport missed a penalty after just five minutes but were able to keep play in the Quins half. This gave fly half Ethan Davies the chance to make a half break and hand on to Dom Franchi, who broke a tackle to cross for a good try. Geraint
O'Driscoll added the conversion. From a Quins push near the home line, a loose ball was picked up by a Newport payer and a counter move was on. 60 meters down field the ball reached Elliot Frewin who made another 20 meters to score a well worked try. Newport had a deserved 12 point lead after 20 minutes but such is the resolve of this Quins outfit that they were in no mood to let a repeat of last season happen. Craig Evans converted a 26th minute penalty to make it 12 – 3.
Good line work by Carwyn Jones and Haydn Pugh, gave Connor Lloyd time to find Craig Evans always ready to bring his backs into play. He put over a 26th min penalty and this appeared to take the sting out of the home attack.
From this good possession, Dylan Morgan was able to carve an opening and his neat chip through gave him the chance to follow up and gather and touch down for a fine opportunist try and the Quins were back in the hunt.
Ellis Lloyd and Will Boyde were keeping the Newport backs quiet with their all action play and the ball handling of the rest of the Quins eight gave the home side little room to cause any damage. Connor Lloyd picked up from a maul 30 meter out he jinked his way past three defenders, only to see his inside pass adjudged forward with the line beckoning.
More Quins good work took play up to Newport line and with their defence in disarray, Craig Evans spotted a huge space out to his left and again his pin point cross kick found the unmarked Iolo Evans who caught it to go over. The referee at first disallowed this score only to see the touch judge come in and advise him differently and the try counted. The conversion narrowly missed but the Quins were now in the lead 13 - 12with interval looming. However, two penalties for mystery scrummaging offences allowed O'Driscoll the chance to regain the home lead 18 - 13 at half time. It was O'Driscoll who further increased the Newport lead with his third penalty and gave Newport an eight point lead.
Far from unsettling the Quins their passing was stretching the Newport defence and Craig Evans once again used his trusty boot to find Iolo Evans unmarked out to the left, and after a 30 meter run, he found Howard Thomas on his inside to out pace the cover defence to go over. Evans was on target with the conversion, reducing the home leads to just the one point.
This is when the character of the Quins squad kicked in. With 15 min s remaining Craig Evans put over a 45.meter penalty to give the Quins a deserved lead for the second time. Carmarthen were denied another score by desperate Newport defence and the game ended with another deserved away victory, chalking up their eighth win on the trot and their sixth away success in the Premiership.
Next Saturday the Quins are hosts to Pontypridd in a top of the table encounter after Ponty moved one point ahead following their bonus point over the week end against Llanelli.
The kick off is at 1.00pm in the Park and the Quins, despite having enormous respect for their opponents, will have no intention of losing their 100% record, particularly at home. It should be a huge occasion made all the more appealing by the Wales v Australia match at 5pm.
Match Report by Alan Bowen