THIS mid-table clash was the third of the season between the opposing teams with previous honours shared, writes Guto Davies.

Newport won away in the league back in October, but lost a 'home' first round National Cup tie which had to be played at the Arms Park.

This proved to be a third encounter of the close kind as RGC registered a first-ever win at Rodney Parade 25-28, despite being a man down for most of the game, and two down at the end.

The Black and Ambers, with the sun on their backs, got off to a solid start, camping out in their opponents’ twenty-two and capitalising on their adventurous spirit, spreading the ball wide to send winger Andy Evans over in the corner.

The North Walians suffered a double whammy, losing influential centre Tom Hughes to injury, and having lock Robin Williams sent off for a blatant head-butt.

Having dominated the first quarter, Newport contrived to let their opponents back into contention, RGC defying their numerical disadvantage to put both wingers in space to score, firstly Harri Evans fielding a Billy McBride cross kick, then Sam Jones sprinting down the tramline, both tries expertly converted by McBride.

In between those two reversals, home outside half Matt O’Brien launched a mid-distance penalty between the posts to register an interval score-line of 8-14.

RGC, spurred on by a vocal travelling support, were kicking for position and launching tight drives to good effect.

Newport finally rediscovered their confidence, sending centre Chay Smith over for a try in the corner, but RGC responded as Iolo Evans burst through to claim a crucial score, converted by McBride.

A break by full back Dion Jones gave the visitors further momentum, winger Harri Evans crossing for the bonus point try, again converted by McBride.

Newport were now chasing the game into the final ten minutes, but did so to good effect, a series of scrums and drives held up but a penalty try eventually awarded, with RGC prop Will Sanderson sin-binned.

A late surge by the home team saw flanker Kyle Tayler charging over, earning a try and losing bonus point for the Black and Ambers who, despite their efforts into injury time, could not steal the win.

Newport: Tries: Andy Evans, Chay Smith, Penalty Try, Kyle Tayler; Pen: O’Brien

RGC: Tries: Harri Evans (two), Sam Jones, Iolo Evan; Cons: McBride (four)