Cardiff youth policy allows Newport to gain revenge

Newport 31 Cardiff 3
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The Independent Online

If Newport had lost this game they would have locked the Rodney Parade gates and thrown away the key. This may be one of the longest standing and bitterest of derby battles, but never before in the history of the fixture could one side have fielded such a weak team. Cardiff arrived with virtually an under-21 team as their coach, Dai Young, sought to protect his top team for Saturday's Celtic League semi-final tie against Neath.

This has hardly been the greatest of seasons for the Black and Ambers, but any victory over the old enemy raises a smile. The fact that Cardiff had won the previous seven outings, including a narrow squeak at Rodney Parade earlier in the season, made it an even bigger game to win.

Two inspections took place before the referee Nigel Williams declared the pitch safe to play, and Newport opted to use the wind in the first-half to try to build a comfortable lead.

It took only six minutes before they earned their first reward when the flanker Jason Forster was rolled over from a line-out to score the first try. Jason Strange converted and then added the extra points to a try from the lock Mike Voyle mid-way through the half. In between, the impressive Nicky Robinson scored Cardiff's only points of the game with a penalty, but the outside half was one player in the visiting ranks who really caught the eye.

He made two searing breaks, pinned Newport back in their territory with his accurate and astute kicking off either foot and always ensured his team moved forward in the tricky conditions. Outside him, the debutant Richard Jones also earned his spurs.

But Newport's pack kept rolling on and Jon Pritchard added a third try just before the break. Strange added the conversion and the home side looked set to break all previous records in the fixture.

But it didn't turn out that way. Young fired up his young bucks and they gave a decent account of themselves in the second half. It took Newport 22 minutes before they added to their tally when Steve Ojomoh fed acting skipper Ofisa Tonu'u with a scoring pass. Strange popped over the conversion and the deed had been done.

Newport: Tries: J Forster, M Voyle, J Pritchard, O Tonu'u; Conversions: J Strange 4; Penalty: J Strange. Cardiff: Penalty: N Robinson.

Newport: P Montgomery (S Howarth,74); H Luscombe, J Pritchard, A Marinos (L Nabaro, h-t), A Cadwallader; J Strange, O Tonu'u (capt; D Burn, 74); C Jones (D Pattison, 69), J Richards (P Young, 55), A Garvey, I Gough, M Voyle (S Raiwalui, 55), G Gravell, J Forster (A Powell, h-t), S Ojomoh.

Cardiff: L Andrews; A Sullivan, D Van Vuuren, R Jones, D Dewdney; N Robinson, R Powell; J Yapp (Aled Jones, 76), G Woods (L Collins, 76), D Young (capt; T Payne, 67) Adam Jones, L Tait, C Stamatakis (N Hampson, 66), R Sowden-Taylor, D McShane.

Referee: N Williams (Bryncoch).