10:17am Friday 21st March 2014
IN-FORM Newport will look to show more defensive hunger to secure a victory that would push Swansea closer to the Championship at St Helen’s tomorrow afternoon, writes Chris Kirwan.
It’s been a hit-and-miss season for the Black and Ambers, who are able to fit in a Premiership fixture because of their failure to make the quarter-finals of the Swalec Cup.
But after struggling for consistency all season mid-table Newport, who in fairness were handed the worst possible cup draw when paired with holders Pontypridd at Sardis Road, are finally hitting their straps.
They have won their last three fixtures and stunned title-chasing Carmarthen Quins on their own patch last Friday, defending their line tenaciously in the closing stages to earn a 25-21 victory.
It’s been three years since Sven Cronk’s men have won four league fixtures on the spin and they will start as favourites in Swansea.
The chances are that the Whites, who have won just one game all season, will be swapping places with Championship victors Ebbw Vale in 2014/15.
They were also dealt a blow this week when it was announced that their head coach, former Wales hooker Mefin Davies, had left his role as an Ospreys development coach with immediate effect but their hosts’ fears of the drop are of little concern to Newport.
“We can’t worry too much about Swansea’s situation,” said Newport head coach Sven Cronk. “We’ve looked at certain aspects of their game but mainly it’s about us.
“The boys have got their confidence back and that has been evident in the way that they have been playing.
“We’ve not been doing anything different in training but suddenly they seem to be a different group and that just comes through winning.
“The main thing that stands out is their attitude to defend their line and that was something that the Carmarthen coaches spoke about after the game.
“We will need to show that same line speed and accuracy in defence this weekend.”
A top-half finish looks beyond Newport but a win this weekend would close the gap on fierce rivals Cardiff in seventh place.
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