Pontypridd and Merthyr went into round three of the Principality Premiership in fine form, having maintained 100 per cent records in the opening two rounds. However, Steve Law's Cardiff side were still in the hunt for their first win, as they welcomed traditional rivals, Newport, to the Welsh capital.
Cardiff RFC 29 Newport RFC 27
The Blue and Blacks registered their first win of the campaign in style, securing a bonus point in the process, as they saw off the challenge of Newport at Cardiff Arms Park.
The 436th clash between the clubs kicked off as a tight affair in the opening stages, with neither side taking a strong hold of the game.
However, the hosts were first on the board, as Gareth Thompson caught the Newport defence napping with a quick tap, slicing his way through for a try under the posts.
Harri Lang reponded for the Blue and Ambers, but fine work from Bleddyn Davies released Tom Daley for a score, as Cardiff regained the lead.
Matt O’Brien added a penalty for the visitors, but a Joe Gatt try seemed to have put the hosts in a commanding position ahead of the interval.
But Newport fought their way back before the half time whistle, and took the lead for the first time, thanks to a O’Brien penalty and an intercepted try from Johnny Morris.
The pendulum kept swinging in both directions in the early exchanges of the second half, as a Thompson penalty briefly put Cardiff back ahead, but Chay Smith responded for the visitors, slipping past the defence to touch down.
However, a sensational team try which started in the 22 eventaully sealed the victory for Cardiff, as Matthew Powell and Morgan Allen put in the hard yards, before Llywarch ap Myrddin rounded off for a dramatic score against his former club.
A trip to the West is next on the cards for Steve Law’s side, as they travel to The Park to take on Carmarthen Quins.
Aberavon 25 Pontypridd 19
Pontypridd’s perfect start to the campaign came to an end, but they did manage to come away with a losing bonus at Aberavon’s Talbot Athletic Ground.
It was a blistering opening 15 minutes at Port Talbot, as the hosts crossed for an early try through wing Shaun Pearce, but Ponty responded through Alex Webber, as Dale Stuckey’s successful conversion proved the difference between the sides, with only seven minutes on the clock.
Minutes later, Sam Williams powered over for the Wizards, but Justin Burnell’s side struck back immediately again, as Alex Knott and Webber created the space for Ceri Sweeney to dot down.
With the teams tied, Pontypridd prop, Gareth Smith, was sent to the sin bin, and Aberavon took advantage of the extra man. The visitors soaked up pressure, but Matthew Jenkins eventually found a way through with a kick and chase.
Chris Banfield converted, and a off-target Stuckey penalty before the interval saw the hosts head in for half time with a five point lead.
The entertaining contest continued in the second half, as Pontypridd regained the lead thanks to a Morgan Sieniawski try, converted by Sweeney.
However, Ieuan Davies’ try on the hour mark proved to be the decisive score, as Banfield’s last gasp penalty capped off an impressive victory for Aberavon.
Pontypridd host RGC at Sardis Road on Friday, with the match being broadcasted live on BBC Scrum V.
Llanelli 7 Merthyr 26
Defending champions, Merthyr, pounded further misery on Llanelli, as they secured a bonus point victory at Parc y Scarlets, maintaining their 100 per cent record in the process.
It took only four minutes for the Ironmen to open the scoring, with Hemi Barnes crossing the whitewash.
Dale McIntosh’s side quickly doubled their lead as Matthew Jarvis crossed in the corner, and duly slotted the conversion to open a 14-point lead.
With 30 minutes gone, Merthyr had the bonus point in sight, as outside half Richard Powell’s chip found Jay Baker, who used his pace to run in for a score.
Joe Roberts scored the home side’s first points of the afternoon early in the second half, but Baker sealed his brace to secure a bonus point for the Ironmen.
Merthyr return to The Wern on Satruday, where they will host Aberavon.