NEWPORT v PONTYPRIDD (Sunday, KO 2.30)
NEWPORT captain Craig Attwell says his side will be looking to carry their great form into Sunday afternoon’s showdown with Premiership champions Pontypridd at Rodney Parade.
The Black and Ambers followed up a fine 18-14 home win over the full-time professionals of Connacht Eagles with last week’s 24-20 triumph away at Cross Keys.
It means Newport have started their British & Irish Cup campaign with a 100 per cent, two from two record and hope to put Ponty to the sword next.
Openside flanker Attwell, a try scorer at Pandy Park last week, predicted a fortnight ago Newport would start to turn the corner sooner rather than later after winning just two out of their opening seven league games.
The prophecy has proven to be a prescient one for the acting skipper who has stepped into the breach as captain in the absence of injured tighthead prop Gethin Robinson, who tore a bicep in the defeat to Cardiff last month.
“I said a few weeks ago it wouldn’t be long before we started to click and we’ve done that in our last two games,” Attwell said.
“It is an achievement to beat a full-time pro side like Connacht and then go and win at a tough place like Pandy Park.”
Attwell said the emphasis was to blitz their Gwent rivals early on and they went 12-0 up after as many minutes.
“We dominated them up front early on – it’s something we had targeted all week going into the game – so that they couldn’t play,” he said.
“It worked and I think the way we played in the first 20 minutes won the game for us.
“We’ll be looking to carry that into this weekend’s game against a Ponty side who, although unbeaten and coming here on the back of a fine win over Leinster last week, we are certainly not afraid of.”
Attwell praised Newport Gwent Dragons tighthead Tim Ryan and loosehead partner Jamie Jeune for their performances last week which helped earn Newport a penalty try as a result of their early scrum superiority.
“Tim has been massive for us and I know Jamie’s a fine player from our time at Pontypool and how confident he is with the ball,” he said.