LLANELLI fell to their third straight Principality defeat of the season, to leave themselves just three points above the bottom two (although this matters for little as there is no relegation for the 2015/16 season).
This will be a concern for Dai Flanagan as before this run they had been enjoying something of a renaissance in the league.
On the other hand, for visitors Newport, victory saw them go top momentarily, as their fine start to the season continues, and they remain firmly in the hunt to be crowned Principality Premiership champions, as a whole host of teams seek to end league giants Pontypridd’s four year dominance.
Newport’s form in recent years has been a long way short of what the Black and Ambers fans will have hoped for and expected, so to be challenging at the top end of the table is encouraging for the Gwent side. What was not quite so encouraging was the sight of Scarlets and Wales prop Rhodri Jones’ name on the team sheet as he made his return from a long period of injury. In the Newport team Haydn Palmer was a late replacement for unavailable Aled James at centre and an even later call was to see Joe Cullimore replace Rhys Jenkins at No.7 after Rhys suffered a reoccurrence of his knee injury, which tightened up during the warm up.
The game was all Llanelli for the first quarter as the hosts piled on relentless pressure and held onto possession. Newport’s defence stood firm and time after time the home team were turned back. Cullimore, Rhodri Jones and Brendon Lampitt formed a very efficient backrow for the visitors, who tackling ferociously and putting their bodies on the line. Llanelli were getting the majority of the refs decisions and always went in search of tries, constantly kicking penalties to the corner rather than go for goal. Indeed the hosts could have been six or eight points up after fifteen minutes but the score remained 0-0.
Newport eventually managed to acquire enough possession to make some concerted attacks and it was clear that in attack they had a greater cutting edge. A superb handling move consisting of multiple phases with quick recycling saw Newport deep in enemy territory and from a resulting penalty a five-metre line out was obtained. Dan Partridge secured possession but it was knocked on in the next phase ending a promising period of play. However the next attacking move saw some quick ‘tap and go’s’ before a beautiful reverse chip from Ryan James sent the ball into the try zone. Elliot Frewen chased hard and patiently waited for the ball to bounce in his favour before touching down for the first try. Arwel Robson missed the difficult conversion.
Five minutes later the lead was extended, as from a move straight off the training paddock, swift interplay led to Wes Cunliffe scoring out wide on the right. The conversion was missed but Newport were now dominant.
Wales prop Rhodri Jones limped off for the hosts after 30 minutes just as his team forced some rapid movement up the pitch. Newport infringed by putting hands into a ruck and this led to the often seen kick, lineout, catch, drive and 6 point try that is becoming increasingly common this season, with hooker Torin Myhill forcing his way over. Flyhalf Billy McBryde converted and Llanelli were up and running.
Just three minutes later this hard work was undone as Newport returned straight back to the Llanelli twenty-two, and superb interplay between forwards and backs, including a beautiful pass from Lavender, put Llywarch Ap Myrddin into space and the returning fullback danced his way through for a wonderful score. Robson banged over the conversion and the visitors were 8-20 to the good at half time.
The second half started with an aerial bombardment from both teams as play switched quickly from end to end. The pace of the game rose and the tiny crowd in attendance were witness to 40 minutes of the most frenetic rugby you are likely to see all season with full out attacks being met by heroic defence. Llywarch danced his way through midfield again and the Llanelli defence flapped and coughed the ball up. From the resulting scrum a neat move sent Haydn Palmer through for a well worked try that secured the bonus point and was also converted.
Moments later the lead was extended as Newport kicked a penalty to extend the lead and from the restart Llanelli squandered a great opportunity with an accidental offside and then within moments messed up another score when a beautiful cross kick was secured, only for the Dion Jones not to back himself for the inevitable score but choosing instead to pass inside to the supporting Matthew Owen, who duly dropped the ball over the line.
Owen did score in the dying moments – with McBryde converting – but it came too late to prevent a Newport victory.
If Llanelli are going to avoid losing four games on the bounce, then they will have to do it at the ‘House of Pain’ as Pontypridd, who themselves have lost three on the bounce, welcome them to Sardis Road.
Teams: Llanelli: 15.Dion Jones 14.Nathan Edwards 13.Steffan Hughes 12.Matthew Pearce 11.Matthew Owen 10.Billy McBryde: 9.Justin James 8.Trystan Lloyd 7.Shaun Edwards 6.Jack Jones 5.Christian Long 4.Rhydian Gierat 3.Rhodri Jones 2.Torin Myhill 1.Rhys Thomas Replacements: 16.Rhys Fawcett 17.Taylor Davies 18.Ben Leung 19.Greg George 20.Liam Puckett 21.Josh Guy 22.Gareth Walters 23.Paul Davies
Newport: Llywarch Ap Myrddin, Wes Cunliffe, Barney Nightingale, Aled James, Elliot Frewen, Arwel Robson, Ryan James, Brendan Lampitt, Rhys Jenkins, Rhodri Jones, Dan Partridge, Adam Brown, Alex Jeffries, Henry Palmer, John Lavender. Replacements: Evan Whitson, James Greenfield, Tom Piper, Bryce Morgan, Joe Culimore, Owen Davies, Julian Mogg, John Morris.
Shingler set to make 200th appearance for Scarlets
SCARLETS’ Aaron Shingler is set to make his 200th appearance for the Scarlets on Friday night as his side take on Bennetton at Parc Y Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday (Oct 19), Shingler said it would be a proud moment when he walked onto the pitch.
Scarlets go into the game on the back of two defeats against Leinster and Munster and Shingler said it had been a ‘difficult couple of weeks’ for the team.
He added that Friday’s game would be a ‘test of character’ as they look to get back to winning ways.
Scarlets take on Bennetton on Friday night, kick off 7:35pm, and they then have a break of over a month before their next United Rugby Championship game.
Coach Dwayne Peel also spoke to the media and added that it was important they picked up the win on Friday.
He went on to say that although he saw an improvement in the team in the Leinster game after defeat to Munster, there was still work to do.
Dwayne said: “The boys are disappointed. We felt that at half time (against Leinster) we were still in the game, we knew the game plan we had but we were disappointed we didn’t allow ourselves to do that. So we were disappointed but in a different way.
“Ten guys have now gone away to Wales so there is a different group of boys who will get an opportunity for this game.”
With Wales playing their autumn internationals following Friday’s game, the Scarlets are next in action on November 27 when they travel to South Africa for games against the Cell C Sharks and the Vodacom Bulls.
Three in a row for Kidwelly
KIDWELLY Town earned their third straight win in Carmarthenhire League Division 1 on Saturday (Oct 16) as they came from behind to beat Tumble 4-1.
Tumble had lost their last three matches prior to Saturday’s game and it was they who took the lead when Garin Morris scored in the tenth minute.
Chris Cray equalised for Kidwelly and it remained 1-1 until half time.
Both sides knew the next goal would be crucial but it was the home side who got it as Rob Davis set up Alex Kay to score.
And just a minute later it was 3-1 as Connor Howells scored.
That all but won the game for the home side who made sure of the points in injury time as Kay fired in his second goal of the game from the penalty spot.
Their fourth win of the season sees them stay in eighth place but they are now only three points behind third placed FC Carmarthen.
On Saturday, October 23, Kidwelly travel to Llangennech who sit just a point and two places above them in the table.
Photo by Darren Harries
Llangennech youth go top
LLANGENNECH Youth moved to the top of the South East Carmarthenshire league on Saturday (Oct 16) as they thrashed Ammanford 47-0.
The home side ran in seven tries, six of which were converted, as they earned a third bonus point win in a row.
Rhys Harris scored a hat trick of tries and Kyle North also crossed the whitewash twice.
There were also tries for Ryan Guard and Kallum Morgan as the home side ran out comfortable winners.
Cameron Mills scored four of the conversion while the other two were scored by Tyler Payne.
The win sees Llangennech leapfrog Ammanford into top spot.
Llangennech will look to keep hold of their 100% record on Saturday, October 23, when they travel to Brynamman.
Photo by Darren Harries
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