Newport RFC v Llanelli RFC RFC @Rodney Parade 01/11/08
The Principality Premiership leaders Llanelli RFC, travelled east to play second in the table Newport RFC. Llanelli made four changes from the team that defeated Bridgend at the Brewery field the previous week. Wing Mark Harvey on permit from Corus was replacing Matthew Jacobs, who was making his Scarlet debut at Northampton, Luke Richards replacing Wales 7s squad player Rhys Priestland, Gavin Cattle replacing teenaged scrum half Gareth Davies, and Luke Jones in for Scarlet Josh Turnbull.
Llanelli with the elements in their favor in the first period were exerting a lot of pressure onto the home team, with Llanelli’s flankers Nic Cudd and Luke Jones in terrific form. It was perhaps fortunate for the home team that Llanelli’s lineout was not functioning as expected and yet despite this deficiency, the visitors who were in total command but had no points on the board to show for all their great efforts. Newport on the other hand must have been delighted to go in at half time three points up from a 28th minute Dan Griffiths penalty.
The Newport lineout that had been faultless in the first period was now getting disrupted by the excellent Llanelli forwards and with Llanelli’s lineout improving the writing seemed to be on the wall for another away victory. A clever lineout ploy saw Hawkins put Aaron Shingler in for a 20 metre try and possibly the fastest second row in Welsh rugby, Shingler again touched down after he intercepted a Dan Griffiths pass from 80 metres and outsprint the Newport backline. Polished full back Dan Newton added the conversion.
Going into the last 10 minutes, a fine box kick from the in-form Gavin Cattle was beautifully received by Newport and a fine counter attack resulted in a good Scott Williams try and six minutes later Newport captain Andrew Coombes had the home crowd on their feet as he scored a gift try from a defensive Llanelli lineout, to take the lead once more.
Llanelli’s response was immediate as they gained a lineout on the Newport 22. A drop goal was on the cards for young stand in fly half Newton to clinch the win they deserved but “Ripper the Skipper” had other ideas as he flew out of the resulting maul and a 20metre dash to the try line for the four Principality Premiership points. Newport desperately tried to hold onto their home record, but in the 8 minutes of injury time Llanelli held firm much to the delight of the coaching and back room team.
Team15.Dan Newton.14.Mark Harvey.13.Nick Reynolds.12.Matthew Brayley 11.Nick Jones10.Luke Richards 9.Gavin Cattle.1.Ian Jones.2.Craig Hawkins3.Aled Hopkins.4.Adam Powell.5.Aaron Shingler.6.Luke Jones.7.Nic Cudd.8.Dan Godfrey 16.Shaun Hopkins(78).17.Luke Lewis.18.Simon Gardner 19Simon Peters (79).20 Justin James 21.Gareth Davies 22 Andrew Banfield(53)
Half Time… Newport RFC 3-0 Llanelli RFC
Final………. Newport RFC 13-17 Llanelli RFC
Other Principality Premiership results for Saturday, 1st November2008
Aberavon 52-15 Bridgend
Bedwas 10-13 Cross Keys
Cardiff 26-21 Wanderers
Llandovery 8-28 Neath
Swansea 20-20 Ebbw Vale
Pontypool 12-30 Pontypridd
Next up for Llanelli RFC will be the inaugural game at Parc y Scarlets when Cardiff RFC take on the Principality Premiership leaders with a 2:30pm. Kick off