NEWPORT crashed to a record nine-try defeat against their fiercest rivals in a one-sided east Wales derby at Cardiff Arms Park.
Fears of a hangover from last week’s 6-46 hammering against Llanelli were realised as early as the first minute against a Cardiff side seeking their first win of the season.
The home XV had been boosted by an influx of Blues regional players, and a neat inside pass from Rob Copeland sent wing Shaun Powell in.
Newport were struggling with the basics, shaky at the set piece, losing ball in contact and disorganised in defence.
A lost line-out saw Thomas Young – son of ex-Wales prop Dai – win a penalty that was superbly converted by Gareth Davies, the kick taking the fly-half past 900 points for Cardiff.
Alan Awcock showed fight for the visitors, shaking Owen Williams in a tackle then exchanging blows with James Murphy.
But Cardiff pushed Newport off scrum ball, allowing man-of-the-match Copeland to pick up and send Rob Lewis under the posts.
Injuries added to the Rodney Parade side’s woes, centre Dan Robinson lasting just 16 minutes in his first competitive game of the season, before captain and prop Gethin Robinson – playing his first game in eight months after an ankle injury – left the field with a suspected torn bicep.
The visitors finally got on the scoreboard with a Scott Sneddon penalty, but a poor Geraint O’Driscoll clearance kick saw Steve Cullen counter-attack, Young supporting and delivering a delightful off-load to Dan Fish for the third try.
Copeland set up James Murphy for the bonus-point score before Richard Smith struck from 40m.
Trailing 36-3 at the break, Newport kept alive the faintest of hopes as a neat midfield move escaped calls of crossing.
Will Hodnett showed hips worthy of a snake to slide through the defence, then the speed to get home from 50m.
Sneddon converted, but Cardiff reasserted authority as Lewis scored his second from a short-range scrum and Copeland rampaged in from 35m.
The outstanding Young stole ruck ball in his own 22 and blasted towards the Newport line, off-loading to Macauley Cook for the Blue and Blacks’s eighth try.
Cook added another from a short-range driving maul, before Newport claimed the slim consolation of the final score.
A slick off-load from John Lavender found Elliot Frewen, who set off on a mazy 75m-sprint to the line, Tom Hancock converting.
“We were blown out of the water here,” said Newport coach Sven Cronk. “The Blues players made a hell of a difference and stood out, you could see the athletic ability that comes from full-time training.
“But if we sit off people, don’t defend or close space down, we’ll struggle against anybody.
“There are a couple of big injuries that look like long-termers.”
Cardiff: D Fish (M Smith 64), S Powell (capt), O Williams (W Thomas 19), R Smith, S Cullen, G Davies, R Lewis (Alex Walker 62), C Ma’afu (W-G John 43), A Fowler (E Lewis 66), S Andrews (C Lewis 66), J Murphy, N White (E Jenkins), M Cook, T Young (R Tucker), R Copeland.
Replacements: E Lewis, C Lewis, W-G John, R Tucker, E Jenkins, A Walker, W Thomas, M Smith.
Scorers: tries – S Powell, R Lewis (2), D Fish, J Murphy, R Smith, R Copeland, M Cook (2); conversions – G Davies (7); penalty – G Davies.
Newport: G O’Driscoll, E Frewen, D Robinson (W Hodnett 16), A Davies (R Downes 42), A Awcock, S Sneddon (T Hancock 58), J Leadbeater, D Pattison, A Brown (S Parry 51), G Robinson (capt) (J Lavender 33), S Waldron, A Frampton, R Coombs (L Randell 44), C Attwell, I Jones (C Townsend 66).
Replacements: S Parry J Lavender L Randell C Townsend T Hancock W Hodnett R Downes.
Scorers: tries – W Hodnett, E Frewen; conversions – S Sneddon, T Hancock; penalty – S Sneddon.
Referee: Leighton Hodges Argus star man: Rob Copeland