NEWPORT went top of the Principality Premiership Tier 2 after racking up their fourth win in a row following an impressive bonus point victory over Swansea, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
They leapfrog Gwent rivals Cross Keys who went down to a shock 59-14 hammering at Neath.
The Black and Ambers got off to a scorching start to go with the glorious weather at a sun-drenched Rodney Parade, full-back Llywarch ap Myrddin blistering home for a spectacular individual try after just two minutes.
Fly-half Arwel Robson’s conversion made it 7-0.
Swansea hit back with a penalty through their full-back Josh Martin in what was developing into a thoroughly bad tempered affair with more than one punch up as tempers flared in the heat.
Newport skipper Adam Brown and All Whites openside Jack Perkins were sent to the sin bin for fighting early in the second quarter, the latter very lucky not to be sent off for a punch right in front of referee Dewi Phillips.
The yellow cards did little to quell the visitors’ belligerent mood, for Swansea loosehead prop Tom Sloane joined Perkins for 10 minutes after he was involved in some rough stuff.
Newport had chances to extend their lead, but their faltering lineout saw them surrender possession from an excellent position in their opponents’ 22 from a penalty.
The men from St Helen’s enjoyed a good spell of possession and territory but Martin was off target with two penalty attempts.
Robson made them pay with a fabulous ghosting run which saw centre Chay Smith touch down for a peach of converted try to make it 14-3 to the hosts at half-time in a lively opening 40 minutes.
Martin’s luck off the tee didn’t improve after he missed his third penalty early in the second half as the All Whites looked to claw their way back into the game.
And the visitors’ indiscipline continued when replacement back Rhys Williams became their third player to see yellow not long after coming on.
Newport number eight Rhys Jenkins bagged their third try after the hosts hit Swansea from a counter attack after a loose kick forward, Robson’s conversion made it 21-3 with 20 minutes still to go.
Not long after he touched down, Jenkins was sent to the sin bin for indiscipline.
Replacement hooker Paul John got a consolation converted try for Swansea before replacement back Matt O’Brien raised the roof with the bonus point fourth try that was converted again by Robson.
Newport: L Ap Myrddyn, E Frewen, H Palmer, C Smith (T Riley 58), J Morris, A Robson, R James (M O’Brien 70), M Prosser (N Boyce 50), H Palmer (W Evans 50), G Harris (T Piper 50), Adam Brown (capt) (J Little 63), D Partridge (D Mock 73), R Jones, K Tayler, R Jenkins.
Newport scorers: Tries – Llywarch ap Myrddin, Chay Smith, Rhys Jenkins, Matt O’Brien, Conversions – Arwel Robson (4).
Swansea: J Martin, J Evans, J Jenkins, D Watts (R Williams 46), T Williams (D Kenny 32-38), L Howley, R Wells (M Aubrey 55), T Sloane (D Kenny 72), R Guest (P John 61), M Walsh (F Holder 72), J Fox, T Hughes, J Vaughan (capt), J Perkins (G Bilton 57-61), R Gallagher.
Swansea scorers: Try – Paul John, Conversion – Laurence Howley, Penalty – Josh Martin.
Referee: Dewi Phillips (WRU) Argus star man: Arwel Robson