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Newport Latest Victims For Connacht

Newport Latest Victims For Connacht


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Newport slumped to another defeat and can now kiss goodbye any prospect of reaching the quarter-finals of the Celtic League.

A week that started with Alix Popham invoking a clause in his contract to move on to Leeds, saw Jon Pritchard and Ceri Jones ruled out for two months with fractures and then Andy Powell pull out of the trip to Galway with a shoulder injury, simply got worse at the Showgrounds.

Building on the momentum they have gathered in winning away at Scottish Borders and Leinster Lions, as well as pipping Cardiff at home by a point, Connacht virtually guaranteed themselves another trip to the knock-out phase with a victory by two tries to nil.

The only points Newport could muster came from the boot of Shane Howarth, back in the outside half position because of a groin injury suffered by Jason Strange, who kicked two penalties in each half.

In doing so, the former Wales full back hoisted himself to the top of Newport’s all-time points scoring list as he moved to 997. That took him past Paul Turner’s record of 992.

Often criticised for his goal kicking, Howarth hit the post with one other attempt but was sound throughout on his return to the No 10 jersey.

“Once again it was a game we could and maybe should have won. We created a lot of chances, but we couldn’t finish them off,” said Newport team manager Jim McCreedy.

“We had a lot of territory, but we are falling down in the last five metres of the pitch. Ofisa Tonu’u was held up twice just short of the line.

“It’s sad – we seem to have lost the habit of winning games and can’t seem to break our losing run.”

A mix up behind the scrum helped to pave the way for Ireland Under 21 cap James Norton to mark his debut with a try from full back for the home side.

Norton showed his elusive running skills to make the break with a side step and then great pace to race 40 metres to the line, .Eric Elwood couldn’t add the conversion, but he did slot a penalty to give Connacht an 8-6 interval lead.

After the break, Howarth added two more penalties, but the game breaker came when left wing Wayne Munn grabbed a second try for the home side. This time Elwood added the conversion and the former Irish outside half also kicked a second penalty to maintain his side’s 100 per cent record.

Scorers: Connacht: Tries: J Norton, W Munn; Con: E Elwood; Pens: E Elwood
2. Newport: Pens: S Howarth 4.
NEWPORT: M Pini; M Mostyn, A Marinos, S Williams, A Cadwallader; S Howarth,
O Tonu’u; R Snow, P Young (J Richards 55), C Anthony (A Garvey 55), M Veater (M Voyle 41), S Raiwalui (captain), A Popham, G Gravell, J Forster.
CONNACHT: J Norton; T Robinson, D Yapp, T Allnutt (captain), W Munn; E
Elwood, C Keane (O Reddan 55); D McFarland (R McCormack 52), J Flannery (M Uijs 52), P Bracken, W Waugh (E Peters 73), R Frost, M Swift, C Rigney (J O’Connor 50), J O’Sullivan.
Referee: R Maybank (RFU)

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