Rugby Union: Rampant Newport

UWIC 15 Newport 69
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The Independent Online
ANY prospect of an upset in this Swalec Cup sixth-round tie went out of the window in the third minute when the rock solid Newport scrum allowed Jan Machacek to drive through the students' former Welsh International Alun Carter to score the first of the game's 13 tries.

It was game over even before it had begun because even the most talented set of student rugby players in the UK - European Student Cup finalists and BUSA Cup semi-finalists - could not compete without the ball.

Newport quickly realised that and the sight of their Czech star running through and then over Carter meant the Uwic pack was put through the mill by their opposing forwards. Time after time the students were shunted off their own ball at the scrum. Brawn certainly won over brain, although the students didn't exactly shower themselves in glory in the tactical department.

Their approach, gallant as ever, lacked concentration and alertness. They also failed to make use of a huge wind in the second half.

But while Uwic go on to battle for two student trophies, the fight for Newport is to reach their first Cup final since 1986 and to survive in the Premier Division. Bottom of the pile at present, this ten-try romp will at least have given them some confidence at a vital stage of the season. With a bit of luck in the draw they could also extend their Cup run.

They have all the vital components. A strong scrummaging pack, a reasonable line-out and in half backs Nicky Lloyd and Shaun Conor two players who can dictate the course of a game.

Lloyd relished coming back to his old alma mater to play behind a dominant pack for once. He nipped in for one try while his half-back partner Conor helped himself to 24 points.

After Machacek had opened the scoring, the Newport skipper Ian Jones drove to the line for try number two and then two scores in three minutes just before the break turned the game totally in Newport's favour after Uwic's promising scrum-half Gareth Cooper had nipped over for a try.

The centre David Stewart grabbed try number three and went on to notch an impressive hat-trick as Newport ran in six more tries in the second half.

Scorers Uwic Tries G Cooper, P Roberts, J Williams. Newport Tries D Smith (3), J Machacek, I Jones, S Conor, M Llewellyn, M Robinson, N Lloyd, M Watkins. Conversions S Conor (8). Penalty S Conor.

UWIC: J Williams; P Davies, P Roberts (J Wagstaff 67), G Bowen, G Thomas; G Vobe (capt), G Cooper; M Bolton, S Jones (G Williams 50), M O'Kelly (I Poley, 41), R Edwards (G Evans 50), C Burrows, A Davies, S Gardner (C Morgan 73), A Carter.

Newport: A Lawson; M Robinson (D Hurn 48), D Smith, L Jones (M Watkins 41), M Llewellyn; S Connor, N Lloyd; R Snow, I Jones (capt) (G Hicks 45), S Cronk, R Goodey (A Popham 64), I Gough, R Stride (M Workman 56), D Gray, J Machacek.

Referee: H Lewis (Bridgend).