NEWPORT bid for a Gnoll double when they take on Neath in Tier Two of the Principality Premiership tomorrow (kick-off midday), writes Chris Kirwan.
The Black and Ambers beat the Welsh All Blacks 12-10 when the sides met out west in November thanks to the right boot of Matt O’Brien.
They head into the fixture on the back of league wins against Bridgend and Cardiff and another success would put them in great shape to join Gwent rivals Cross Keys, who are four from four since the January split, in the Tier Two play-offs.
While it is galling to watch others going for silverware in the cup and Tier One, forwards coach Ty Morris says there is a determination in the Newport camp to finish the season strongly.
“We sat down after the split and spoke about being successful at the end of the season and trying to win something to get something from it.
“A poor start to the year bit us on the backside but we’ve only lost two of our last 10 in the Premiership and we want to keep that going.
“All our eggs are in one basket after losing at Pontypridd in the cup and we want to keep this league run going.”
Newport are on a good run in the league while Neath have also started Tier Two strongly with victories away to Cardiff and Llanelli.
The Black and Ambers sneaked the spoils in the autumn and Morris believes they will have to up their game against much-improved hosts.
“Neath have had some good results recently and have definitely got better as the season has gone on,” he said.
“They are now scoring tries and their back three is a big threat. Neath are always physical, especially when playing at home, but now have a good balance to their game.
“We have been strong at the set piece and will need that to continue while we need to threaten in attack - we went into our shells against Ponty and it was only late on that we showed what we can do.”
Newport are without fly-half O’Brien and loosehead John Lavender with the duo facing fitness battles to play again this season while Arwel Robson plays for Wales Under-20s in France this evening.