It was always going to be a huge ask for an injury-ravaged Llanelli against top of the table, Newport.
But despite a seven try haul from the Black and Ambers, the hosts demonstrated true character as they competed right up until the final whistle, securing a well-earned bonus point.
Newport had the early territorial advantage, but Llanelli were able to clear thanks to an overthrow at the line-out. However, the visitors worked through the phases before chipping over the defence resulting in a double blow for Llanelli as Jonathan Morris crossed for the first try, converted by Will Reed, with Amir Jiwa-Walji shown a yellow card.
Llanelli 0-7 Newport
Great hands from the Newport backs again put them deep in the Llanelli twenty-two but the ball was spilled forward. The dominance of the Black and Ambers pack was evident as the Llanelli forwards were pushed off the ball, with Ben Roach on hand to steal and dive over the whitewash. Again, Reed added the extras.
Llanelli 0-14 Newport
But Llanelli hit right back with Wing, Harrison Button picking up loose ball and winning the foot race to cross for an opportunists try. Iwan Evans slotted over the conversion.
Llanelli 7-14 Newport
Again, it was the sheer power of the Newport forwards that was instrumental in their third try. Turning down the posts, the visitors opted to kick for the corner. They secured the line-out and there was nothing Llanelli could do to keep them out, with Henry Palmer claiming the score. Reed was on target with the boot to add the extras.
Llanelli 7-21 Newport
A missed penalty kick at touch offered Llanelli the chance to counter and a further penalty saw Llanelli in a great attacking position inside the Newport red zone.
An off-the-ball scuffle saw a clear punch thrown by Newport’s Josh Skinner on Christian Long, but despite calls for a red card for Skinner, both locks spent 10 minutes in the bin.
Again the hosts opted to kick for the corner, the ball was spread but Newport managed to boot downfield.
However, a determined Llanelli fought their way back into the twenty-two, coming within inches of crossing the whitewash.
A penalty at the scrum offered the visitors the opportunity to clear, but touch was missed and Lloyd Williams was able to counter.
This saw Llanelli in a great attacking position with Rhys Cherry powering over from close range following an effective drive off the line-out. Evans’ conversion attempt hit the posts.
Llanelli 12-21 Newport
As the first half drew to a close, a thumping tackle from Flanker, Ellis Thomas left Newport’s Dai Richards out cold, but thankfully, he was able to applaud supporters as he was helped off the pitch. Thomas was shown a red card leaving Llanelli a man down for the second half.
Harrison Button had an early opportunity in the second half to dance his way through the Newport defence, but despite keeping possession, it was all very lateral. Llanelli winning a free kick at the scrum was met with huge cheers and again offered an attacking opportunity. But, conceding a penalty proved costly as Ben Roach crossed for his second and Newport’s bonus point try. Again, Reed was on target with his conversion attempt.
Llanelli 12-28 Newport
A superb break in midfield from Newport’s Jonathan Morris saw him beat a couple of Llanelli’s defenders before off-loading inside to Che Hope who raced over unopposed for Newport’s fifth try. Reed continued with his 100% record off the boot as he slotted over the extras.
Llanelli 12-35 Newport
The visitors continued to take full advantage of their extra man as they again kicked for the corner. Securing the line out and setting up the powerful rolling maul, the result was inevitable as Josh Skinner drove over from close range. A change in kicker, but the result was still the same as Haydn Simons added the conversion.
Llanelli 12-42 Newport
Despite the effort from the young Llanelli squad, Newport’s confidence and dominance grew. A break from Ben Roach was offloaded to Jonathan Morris who raced over for his second try. On this occasion the conversion was missed.
Llanelli 12-47 Newport
But, Llanelli never gave up and were rewarded for their efforts. Newport’s Elliot Frewen was sent to the sin bin for the remainder of the game for a professional foul as Llanelli kept possession, finding Joe Hutchings who crossed for the try. Iwan Evans added the extras
Llanelli 19-47 Newport
With just minutes remaining, a huge kick saw Llanelli deep in the Newport twenty-two. A series of penalties against the visitors and a huge amount of determination from Llanelli saw the Joe Hutchings cross from close range for his second try, securing a much deserved bonus point for the hosts. Iwan Evans slotted over the conversion to end the game.
FINAL SCORE – Llanelli 26-47 Newport
T: Button, Cherry, Hutchings (2)
C: I. Evans (3)
YC: Jiwa-Walji, Long
RC: E. Thomas
T: Morris (2), Roach (2), Palmer, Hope, Skinner,