When former Newport player and coach Paul Turner asked if Newport were interested in travelling to Bedfordshire for a pre season friendly fixture we didn't need asking twice. Paul or 'Tommy' to many is a Newport legend and quite rightly in the Newport RFC Hall of Fame. A superb game controller from No.10 he lit up Welsh rugby in the 80's and 90's and was a vital part of our team.
Capped three times for Wales and very unlucky for it not to be many more, Paul was a superb reader of the game and it was only natural that he would become a coach. Equally happy kicking off either foot the opposition never knew what trick he would perform next. A previous holder of the all time record points scorer record for Newport, there's not much he hasn't done for our famous club.
Times change and now Newport are a semi-pro club and Paul, after coaching at the top level in the UK with Sale, Bedford and the Newport Gwent Dragons, is now pulling the strings for Ampthill, a very successful team making a big impact in League 1 of the English structure.
This will be a tough fixture for Newport. Make no bones about that. However, it is just what we need before our first league game the following week against Cardiff. Newport are strengthened following the excellent big win against Risca by the return of the experienced Matt O'Brien and Rhys Jenkins. In the backs Adam Sabri and Haydn Simons get another chance to impress after their solid performances last week. The pack also has a solid look about it and will be ready for the challenge.
Our fixture list often has a very familiar look and feel about it so make sure you make the effort to watch the game on Saturday as it should be a cracker and is something quite different to what we are used to.
Newport: Haydn Simons, Wes Cunliffe, Chay Smith, Adam Sabri, Jon Morris, Matt O'Brien, Owen Davies, Nicky Boyce, Evan Whitson, Garin Harris, A N Other, James Little, Alex Everett, Kyle Tayler & Rhys Jenkins (c).
Subs from: Will Evans, Henry Palmer, Tom Piper, Matt Prosser, Joe Cullimore, Morgan Burgess, Rhys Creswell, Josh Reid, Ryan James, Ryan Bates, Curtis Ayling, Harri Lang & John Rogers.