Carmarthen Quins RFC v Newport RFC 12th November 2022 by John Evans
Having finally appeared to have shaken off the cup final hangover, with terrific successive wins against Swansea and high-flying Aberavon, Newport looked to continue their winning streak with a trip to the Quins, a tricky, ball-playing side who can provide the best of sides with an uncomfortable afternoon.
Newport were disrupted in the build-up to the game by the very late withdrawal of Dan Hill in the second row. His absence was more than adequately covered as George Young moved off the bench while Alex Grey moved forward to partner Josh Skinner in the boiler room. The replacement spot was filled by Matt O’Brien.
Steffan Marshall kicked off for the Quins as Newport demonstrated their intent by keeping the ball, spreading it wide before earning a penalty as the Quins back row showed over-eagerness in defence. Newport applied pressure, gaining advantage as they pressed towards the line, the Newport back-row being lively in support. Sadly, the lineout throw to Josh Skinner was deemed not straight and the momentum was lost, for now.
A terrific hit by Will Griffiths on Quins’ second row Josh Helps disrupted a home attack to the extent that the follow-up kick was charged down easily, and Newport could recover possession and work away from danger.
Newport seemed to have the measure of the Quins attacks, and repulsed a few waves of, largely, static attacking. However, they could do little about Steff Marshall’s 13th minute penalty kick, which was successfully converted, putting the Quins 3-0 ahead.
Newport levelled the scores three minutes later when Will Reed slotted his own penalty kick. Josh Skinner was proving dominant in the lineout, launching Jonny Morris into midfield. Ben Roach surged on before Skinner re-appeared to carry the ball. Quins encroached as the ball emerged from the ruck, prompting Newport to go for the sticks themselves. 3-3 on 16 minutes.
Newport played the ball from the restart, asking questions of the Quins defence before they were pinged offside. Will Reid punted Newport up to the corner. Che Hope provided quick service from the deck as Newport powered forward, options left and right. Quins infringed again, Newport opting to pop at goal and get themselves ahead. Will Reed took the kick, making the score Quins 3 Newport 6 on 17 minutes.
Quins made a disaster in defending the restart, Marshall’s left-footed kick going straight to fullback Ioan Davies, who calmly stepped around the onrushing defence, then outstripped the ones he hadn’t already left for dead. Che Hope was keeping up on the outside and took the pass as Davies drew the last man. Will Reed added the extras, making the score Quins 3 Newport 13 on 23 minutes.
Following a prolonged stop for an injury to Alex Grey, Newport restarted with a goal-line dropout kick. Newport had to work hard to break out, winning the ball back before improvisation almost paid off as Kyle Tayler fed Will Reed, whose kick ahead almost launched Jonny Morris, but the ball couldn’t be collected cleanly.
The centre combination of Chay Foster-Smith and Cameron Lewis was proving a real handful for the Quins defence, the strength and power of the two requiring any number of tacklers as they bustled forward in attack and, generally, killed attacks stone dead.
Sadly, a knock to Will Griffith’s head saw him withdraw from the game to be replaced by Jack Gillard. Hopefully Griffiths’ luck with injuries improves soon.
Newport worked themselves into a handy situation as a kick-ahead from Che Hope earned them an attacking scrum, five metres out. Both front rows were trying to psych each other out, but the steady platform simply provided a launch pad for Cam Lewis to hurl his frame at the white wall of defenders. He was stopped short, but Josh Skinner managed to cross the line but was held up.
Newport powered ahead, Chay Foster-Smith making an awful mess of a Quins attack as it was dragged backwards, with Will Reed adding his support and the ball stripped. Josh Skinner, appearing a points around the field like Mr. Benn, fed George Young who took the contact. The ball worked out to Foster-Smith again as his delicate kick found Ioan Davies in the corner. Kyle Tayler carried the ball onwards before George Young went close, but the Quins defence was solid, and legal, managing to win the ball in contact and ease their position.
As the half drew to a close, Newport looked to improve their score. A horribly overthrown lineout was easy meat for Jack Gillard as he gathered the ball for Newport. The big hooker showed up well in the loose as he powered forward with Quins defenders hanging off him. Jonny Morris came off his wing, looking for work, and good hands across the line looked to put Newport in position, but a knock-on from Quins in the tackle gave Newport an attacking scrum option. The Black and Ambers pushed on, Will Reed trying to put players into gaps, Cam Lewis using his powerful frame to bludgeon gaps open, while backs and forwards linked in keeping the ball alive. Eventually, it fell to Chay Foster-Smith to spot the gap and slide into it, grounding the ball for the try. The conversion went left of the posts making the halftime score Quins 3 Newport 18.
Half Time Carmarthen Quins RFC 3 Newport RFC 18
Newport won a penalty early in the second half when Quins were pinged for holding onto the ball in the tackle. Newport couldn’t make it count, however, despite drives by Tayler, Young and Roach, it was Newport themselves who were hanging on and the pressure was temporarily relieved on the Quins line. A poor pass in midfield, however, reapplied the pressure and Newport earned themselves an attacking scrum 5. From an advancing set piece, Che Hope whipped the ball out to Oli Andrew, who gathered the pass and dived headlong in to score. The conversion was missed, so the scoreboard now read Quins 3 Newport 23 on 47 minutes.
Quins began making a slew of replacements, now that the game was in danger of drifting away from them, and it paid dividends soon after as Steffan Phillips scored. A powerful scrum had Newport in hot water and a penalty was kicked to the corner. The maul was formed around the lineout jumper and, as is the current vogue, backs joined forwards in trying to ease Newport over the line. This was managed and it was left to Phillips to break and score. The conversion by Stef Marshall was successful so the scoreboard now read Quins 10 Newport 23 with 54 minutes played.
A planned move from a lineout almost punctured the Quins defence as Oli Andrew came at pace on the short side, but, with the Quins tackler deemed offside, Newport opted to kick at goal, extend the lead and wait for better opportunities. Will Reed kicked the goal to make it Quins 10 Newport 26 on 61 minutes.
Newport secured the try-scoring bonus point on 66 minutes when Jonny Morris crossed. A careless Quins error had gifted Newport possession allowing Will Reed to boot upfield. Lineout won, it was left to Che Hope and Oli Andrew to interplay along the left wing and push Newport to within metres of the Quins line. Further softening up and it was left to Will Reed to cross-kick to the lurking Jonny Morris to simply catch the ball and place it over the line. Will Reed added the two-pointer to make the score Quins 10 Newport 31.
Newport began to purr as Quins regularly seemed to kick away possession. Ioan Davies was given acres of room to show what he can do, while the new 9/10/12 combo of Luke Crane, Geraint O’Driscoll and Matt O’Brien were cruising with the armchair ride with the platform that their forwards were providing. Matt O’Brien slotted a 74th minute penalty to close the game out and make the score Quins 10 Newport 34.
As injury time loomed, the Quins forwards seemed determined to gain something for themselves. They snapped and snarled at the Newport pack, but the Black and Amber forwards stood up again and again.
With ‘last play’ of the game called by the referee, Newport took the ball and, sensing a miracle score, Jonny Morris went with his instinct and ran. His pass out was picked off by the Quins, but Newport were picked up as being offside on the tackle. Quins punted to the corner allowing their forwards the last crack at the line that they probably deserved. They heaved forward and fought their way across the line. The referee, Mr Elgan Williams had no hesitation in running under the posts for a penalty try and showing Kyle Tayler a yellow card subsequently. The final score, then, was Quins 17 Newport 34.
Full Time: Carmarthen Quins RFC 17 Newport RFC 34
Newport are next in action this Friday night, 18th November, when they welcome Pontypridd RFC to Newport Stadium for an Indigo Group Premiership game. Nobody would pretend that Pontypridd are as potent as they were in the recent past, but they are more than capable of giving any team in this division a bloody nose; Newport will have to be on top form to make sure that they dodge the punches and emerge victorious. It’s sure to be a pulsating game! Come along, bring your mates and shout the Black and Ambers up the table!
Onwards and upwards Newport.
Your City. Your Colours. Your Club
Newport RFC Man of the Match ; Ioan Davies
Final Score – Carmarthen Quins RFC 17 Newport RFC 34