Rugby Union: Scarlet hopes vanish

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The Independent Online
Newport. . 22

Llanelli. .14

TWO tries from Chris Wyatt and another by Andrew Lewis highlighted one of Newport's most committed performances of the season and put the defending Heineken League champions, Llanelli, firmly in their place.

Llanelli looked anything but championship material as they stuttered and stumbled their way to the second defeat in a four-day spell that has seen their hopes of retaining the title vanish. Not until they were 22 points adrift early in the second half did the Scarlets produce anything approaching a cohesive pattern. Their scrum-half, Rupert Moon, who had been subjected to some close attention, especially from the Newport No 8, Richard Goodey, began to show more urgency but he was still hampered by a lack of good ball.

Newport's pack frequently had the better of the Scarlets' forwards in both scrums and mauls but as they began to tire so they began to stray offside. With three Andrew Richards penalties under their belts, Llanelli perked up but found Newport equal to the task.

Wyatt opened the scoring in the 13th minute when he forced his way through a gap after Newport had laid siege to the Llanelli line for some five minutes. David Rees converted.

When a Rees penalty in the 27th minute came back off an upright, Lewis reacted swiftly, brilliantly clutching the rebound and running in from 15 metres. Rees again added the conversion points and two minutes later struck a beautiful drop goal from all of 40 metres after a poor Moon clearance had fallen straight to him.

The 17-point interval lead still looked slender because of the strong wind, but when Rees collected a stray kick from Richards to set up Wyatt for his second try, Newport breathed more easily.

Llanelli got the message but Richards' kicking and Phil Davies's 75th-minute pushover try could not save them.

Newport: Tries Wyatt 2, Lewis; Conversions Rees 2; Drop goal Rees. Llanelli: Try P Davies; Penalties Richards 3.

Newport: D Rees (capt); M Puddy, D Hughes, M Yendle, A Lewis; J Williams, D Llewellyn; A Dibble, A Peacock, J Alvis, N Jones, C Wyatt, A Carter, R Goodey, D Gray.

Llanelli: I Jones; I W Jones, S Davies, N Davies, L Davies; A Richards, R Moon (capt); R Evans, P Young, S John, A Copsey, P Jones, P Pook, P Davies, L Jones.

Referee: R Hope (Pontypridd).