NEWPORT fell to their second defeat to rivals Cardiff in the Principality Premiership East this season on a cold evening at Cardiff Arms Park, writes Jay Bayford.

The Black and Ambers lost 31-19 to Cardiff on the opening weekend of the season and it was a repeat performance as tries from Dan Fish, Ben White, Dafydd Smith and Ian Jenkins, as well as 17 points from Gareth Thompson, guided the hosts to a bonus-point victory.

Newport fought back through Henry Palmer, Harri Lang and Ryan James tries and kicks from Haydn Simons but Cardiff proved too strong.

It was a disappointing start for Craig Warlow’s men as Cardiff full-back Fish collected Rhys Carre’s pass to open the scoring on 11 minutes.
Reliable kicker Thompson then added the conversion to surpass the 50-point mark for the season.

But Newport responded immediately with their pressure earning a penalty, and after hitting three penalties against Cross Keys Simons made no mistake.

However, Cardiff, who had dominated the early exchanges, went straight on the attack and Thompson showed his nerve to edge the Blue and Blacks further ahead with a well-taken penalty.
 Newport tried to battle their way back but the hosts held a solid defensive line and Thompson kicked another penalty to give Cardiff a bit of breathing space.

The hosts remained on the front foot for the rest of the half and took a 16-3 lead into the break, courtesy of a third Thompson penalty goal.

The Blue and Blacks came out of the blocks in the second half and a try looked inevitable and the home crowd didn’t have to wait long to celebrate as White eventually got the ball over the line to open up a wider gap, with Thompson again booting the conversion.

Just like they did in the first half, Newport reacted well and a good team move ended with Palmer forcing the ball over the whitewash to pull the visitors back in the game. Simons was on target with the conversion.

But Newport’s tails weren’t up for long as Smith went over before replacement Jenkins added a late try to give Cardiff maximum points.

Even later tries came in added time for Lang and James but Cardiff held out for the win.

Cardiff – Tries: D Fish, B White, D Smith, I Jenkins; Cons: G Thompson (4); Pens: G Thompson (3).

Newport – Tries: H Palmer, H Lang, R James; Cons: H Simons (2); Pens: H Simons.