NEWPORT boss Craig Warlow isn’t getting carried away with talk of earning a home semi-final in Tier Two of the Principality Premiership, he is fully focussed on ensuring the Black and Ambers don’t stall like last year.
The Rodney Parade side will be on the brink of extending their season beyond May 3 if they triumph against Bargoed in Ystrad Mynach tomorrow (kick-off 2.30pm).
The Black and Ambers have won all four games since the January split to move to within touching distance of the Tier Two play-offs and have lost just two league fixtures since October.
Newport left their push for Tier One too late but still have silverware to play for and must avoid a repeat of 2016, when an encouraging campaign faltered late on.
The Black and Ambers were in the mix for the title but lost their last five to miss out on the play-offs, a slump that needs to be avoided to earn an extra Rodney Parade date.
“It’s just about momentum for us and going into each game to keep our form going,” said Warlow.
“If you look at last year we lost momentum at a key time so we have to keep our focus.
“There are different attitudes and approaches from teams (to Tier Two) but we just want to keep winning and I am not looking too far ahead.
“I don’t want to go into detail about semi-finals, we’ll cross that when it comes.”
The game has been shifted to the artificial surface of Caerphilly County Borough Centre of Sporting Excellence but Warlow expects the same challenge from a Bargoed side who triumphed 17-16 in a home encounter in January.
“It will be business as usual,” said Warlow. “Bargoed enjoy playing at home and have got good vocal support so I suppose it might affect them but lots of our boys are familiar with 3G and the surroundings of Ystrad Mynach.
“Bargoed will bring line speed in defence, make a mass at the breakdown as all teams try to but they do also play good rugby.
“They deserved their win in Neath last week and they achieved it by playing nice rugby so we will be fully prepared.”
Newport have no fresh injury concerns and will attempt to pick up where they left off against Swansea on April 8 when they enjoyed a 28-10 bonus point win.
“One of the things that we are trying to work on is managing situations because we have got plenty of talent but Bargoed will challenge us mentally and physically,” said Warlow.
“That means our decision makers will be under pressure and that’s part of the learning process for the likes of Arwel Robson and Matt O’Brien. They are talented 10s and we aren’t trying to take anything away from them while encouraging them to play at the right time.”
Bargoed are in the mix for the play-offs themselves thanks to last week’s excellent 36-29 victory at the Gnoll after Neath had led 26-7.
The Bulls earned a five-point haul thanks to tries by wing David Evans, lock Josh Jacas, fly-half Calum Jones (two) and centre Ashley Norton. They are two from four since the January split with home dates with Bridgend and Cardiff to come.
Tier Two standings: 1 Newport P4 18pts, 2 Cross Keys P5 17pts, 3 Llanelli P6 16pts, 4 Neath P5 16pts, 5 Bridgend P5 15pts, 6 Bargoed P4 9pts, 7 Swansea P6 6pts, 8 Cardiff P5 4pts
Tomorrow’s other fixture: Tier One - Carmarthen Quins v Aberavon