NEWPORT were outplayed in west Wales as they slipped to a 23-15 defeat against a lowly Llanelli outfit, writes James Lloyd.

The hosts dominated territory and possession, with the scoreline somewhat flattering the Gwent team who benefited from Llanelli’s wastefulness in attack. Ty Morris’ side showed plenty of character but were outmuscled by a hungrier opposition at Parc Y Scarlets.

A brace of tries from Llanelli captain Johnny Lewis plus 13 points from the boot of outside-half Ioan Hughes was enough to get Paul Fisher’s side over the line. Newport scored two tries of their own courtesy of Elliot Frewen and Joe Bartlett with Geraint O’Driscoll kicking five points.

The hosts opened the scoring when Lewis touched down for a well-worked try with Hughes converting. Newport began to grind their way back into the game and finally got on the scoreboard with a successful penalty from O’Driscoll.

Hughes extended Llanelli’s lead with three points from the kicking tee after the visitors strayed offside to give the hosts a 10-3 lead at the interval. The hosts began the second-half strongly with Lewis claiming his second try courtesy of a well-timed pass from Hughes, with the outside-half adding the extras.

But Newport refused to lie down as Frewen ran in unopposed from 20 metres out after a defensive lapse from Llanelli. And Llanelli were temporarily reduced to 14 men when scrum-half Iwan Temblett was sent to the sin bin for cynically infringing at the breakdown.

The visitors gave themselves an opportunity to claim an unlikely win when Bartlett crossed at the far right-hand corner after some neat handling from his inside backs, which looked to have shifted the momentum over to Newport.

But Llanelli’s pack quickly regained the momentum and began to apply pressure deep in Newport’s half with the scrum and lineout giving them a strong platform. Man of the match Hughes slotted a further two penalties to seal a crucial win for the west Walians which also denied the Black and Ambers what would have been an important losing bonus point.

Llanelli: K Evans, E Wilson, T Rogers, J Lewis, L Hutchins, I Hughes, I Temblett, C Thomas, G George, A Jeffries, C Long, E Couzens, N Hart, J Lewis, J Miles.

Replacements: R Cherry, S Bond, S Gardiner, S Langford, E Hopkins, I Thomas, I Evans, A Sutton.

Scorers: Tries – J Lewis (2); Cons – I Hughes (2); Pens – I Hughes (3).

Newport: D Richard, J Morris, H Griffiths, G O'Driscoll, E Frewen, M O'Brien, L Crane, L Jones, B Coghlan, G Harris, J Bartlett, D Partridge, A Mann, J Reid, G Price.

Replacements: L Smout, E Whitson, T Piper, R Cresswell, K Tayler, G Watkin, T Pascoe, H Lang.

Scorers: Tries – E Frewen, G O’Driscoll; Cons – G O’Driscoll; Pens – G O’Driscoll.