Wales' two best teams in final showdown as Newport demolish rivals

Newport celebrate beating Ebbw Vale
Newport celebrate beating Ebbw Vale -Credit:Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd

Centre Joe Westwood ran in a stunning hat-trick to send Newport into an Indigo Premiership play-off final showdown with Llandovery.

It was a 15th consecutive victory for the Black and Ambers who were simply too hot to handle for the Steelmen as they won their all-Gwent semi-final 48-13 at Newport Stadium.

Wales U20 star Westwood, who last weekend was playing against Connacht for the Dragons in the BKT United Rugby Championship, ran the show for Newport in a dominant display.

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Fellow Wales U20 cap and Dragons prospect Che Hope was also on the scoresheet, along with wingers Elliot Frewen and Lloyd Lewis. Outside half Matt O’Brien converted all six tries as well as sending over two penalties.

His opposite number Evan Lloyd kicked two first half penalties and converted Owen Conquer’s consolation try for Ebbw in the second half but by then the game had gone.

For Ebbw it was once again crushing disappointment in a semi-final this season having also lost 43-7 at the hands of eventual winners Llandovery in the last four of the WRU Premiership Cup.

It was one win each against the other this season heading into the contest.

Hope and Frewen were on the scoresheet when Newport won 31-25 at Eugene Cross Park back in March while Ebbw were victorious 28-20 on their last trip to Spytty Park back in November, when Lloyd kicked 23 points.

Much was made in the build up of the battle between the two outside halves; Lloyd has been training with the Dragons since December – where he is coached by O’Brien.

O’Brien got the scoreboard ticking before Lloyd sent over two penalties.

It was the only time Ebbw would hold the lead.

Westwood scampered over for the game’s first try midway through the first half after several phases and good pressure from Newport.

O’Brien added the extras and then landed another penalty, before Frewen grabbed Newport’s second try after 36 minutes, which was again improved by O’Brien.

With the wind behind them, Newport were far too clinical for Ebbw and extended their lead further with a third try, with Frewen and scrum-half Hope exchanging passes before the latter dotted down. O’Brien’s conversion made it 27-6 at the break.

Ebbw needed a strong start as they reemerged, but it was Newport who were over again when Westwood scored their fourth try. He then completed his treble just before the hour mark. Both tries were converted by O’Brien as Newport led 41-6.

Conquer pulled a score back for Ebbw but it was ultimately scant consolation and the final word belonged to Newport and Lewis, with O’Brien once again faultless from the kicking tee.

Newport will now head to Church Bank next Saturday – the scene of their last defeat back on 25 November – as they bid to wrestle the Premiership crown away from Llandovery and, in the process, lift what would be their first league title since 2004.


Newport: Tries: J Westwood (3), E Frewen, C Hope, L Lloyd; Cons: M O’Brien (6); Pens: M O’Brien (2)

Ebbw Vale: Try: O Conquer; Con: E Lloyd; Pens: E Lloyd (2)