Rugby Union: Machacek becomes toast of Newport

Newport 23 Cardiff 11
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The Independent Online
Jan Machacek might not roll smoothly off the tongue and Newport supporters may struggle with the pronunciation of the name, but they certainly like what they see in the man.

Machacek was the name on most Black-and-Amber lips on Saturday, not least those of the announcer who had to struggle with it twice as the 24-year- old scored two of the four tries that secured Newport's place in next season's slim-line eight-club Premier Division of the National League.

As the Rodney Parade celebrations continued late into the night, the unassuming man from Prague stepped forward to accept the supporters' award as their Player of the Year, confirmation that he has made his mark.

Yet Machacek could have been captaining the Czech Republic team against Germany on Saturday if Newport had thought they could do without their dynamic No 8. They didn't, Machacek stayed and Newport stayed up.

Machacek responded with a storming performance at the heart of a pack effort that won all the forwards a collective man of the match award, the Cardiff eight blown away by Richard Goodey's rampaging men on a paddyfield of a pitch regularly topped up by driving downpours.

With regular bulletins buzzing between the matches involving the three clubs in danger of relegation, Newport, Neath and Dunvant, Goodey and his team-mates left nothing to chance, determined to do the survival business themselves.

Dunvant did their best to escape joining Newbridge, Treorchy and Caerphilly in the drop down into an expanded 16-club Second Division with a comfortable victory at Treorchy. But, with both Newport and Neath winning, their lifeline was cut.

Cardiff, having won the Swalec Cup and secured a top-four finish for their passport into Europe and the Heineken Cup, could not match Newport's hunger for the points, their three-try advantage earning an unexpected bonus point and an ultimately cosy sixth place.

And in players like lock Ian Gough, flanker Gareth Taylor and scrum-half Nicky Lloyd to complement their established core of players, they can look to better and less fraught days ahead.

Newport: Tries Machecek 2, Lloyd, Burn; Penalty S Davies. Cardiff: Try Williams; Penalty Jarvis 2.

Newport: S Davies; D Smith, A Palfrey, L Jones, D Burn; J Colderley, N Lloyd; S Duggan, I Jones (G Hicks, 76), S Cronk (C Johnson, 40), R Goodey (capt), I Gough, V Davies (R Parks, 79), J Machecek, G Taylor (M, Workman 61).

Cardiff: I Jones; J Forfana, L Davies, G Jones, S Hill; L Jarvis, J Hewlett; A Lewis (P Booth, 65), J Humphreys (capt), L Mustoe, K Stewart, J Wakeford (S Roy, 55), L Jones, O Williams, J Ringer.

Referee: H Lewis (Pontypridd).

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