Friday 24 October 2014 – 7.30pm
Rodney Parade, Newport
European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 3 #2
Are we all still chuffed? I told you that once we got one win, more would come!
That sounded like a tasty game on the radio last night. A baying crowd, two teams going hammer and tongs. It was pretty tense listening, probably worse for those just following on Twitter, that’s why going to the game is best as at least you can see what’s happening and shout!
I managed to miss the middle five minutes or so, the internet dying just as the Dragons scored their late first-half try, and recovering as Mark Wilson scored. That was a big relief as it had been an interesting listen in the first half, but perhaps not quite as welcome in the last few minutes as we defended a four-point lead and Newport pounded on the door.
The game stopped with apparently seconds to go and I didn’t hear what happened, big panic! Twitter said that we had a 5m scrum, and Big Smithy and Dean quite calmly went on to say that our players had their hands in the air and we’d won.
Quiet end to a great result against a strong Dragons team. Lets remember that while Stade Francais weren’t at full strength last week, they are still a decent side and Newport won over there. We weren’t nearly at full strength last night (maybe six first choice players in the starting lineup) yet we won at Rodney Parade. So it’s a very impressive result I think.
We seem to now have a winning mentality and really good morale in the squad, a squad which has better strength in depth than for many years. Not in every game, but the future really does look brighter now I think.
Mark Wilson sounded like he had another strong game, but the name I remember hearing most in the second half both in defence and attack was Dan Temm – seemed to pick up where he left off against Bucharest and will surely get another start in the LV= Cup in the coming weeks. Other than that, Lee Smith and Rob Hawkins seem to be putting their hands up for further action, and Will Witty’s second try in two games will have done his chances of getting more games no harm.
Of course nobody should think that we will now go on and win the next ten games too, and soar up the league to make a late challenge for a playoff spot. Northampton could well bring us back down to Earth a week today. But if they do, it won’t be for the want of trying, and the team will bounce back and give it a big go against Cardiff at home.
Now might be a good time to have another momentary think about the season so far. If someone had said that we’d win four of our first games of the season, among them London Welsh away, and be closer to fifth place than to bottom – oh, and we’d have scored twenty-four tries (after eight games last season we had just six), I think we’d have been very happy.
Viva la Richards Revolución!
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)