Tries: Jamie Jeune (4)
Conversions: Matthew Jones (3)
Penalties: Eamonn Rees (1)
Jamie Jeune is 4-try hero as Pooler overcome Newbridge in local derby
Pontypool welcomed traditional rivals and near neighbours Newbridge to Pontypool Park on a cold but fine afternoon and it was Pooler who stretched their winning run in the WRU National Championship in this campaign to 13, thanks to 4 tries by hooker Jamie Jeune, writes Ray Ruddick.
Newbridge kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground on a heavy pitch and immediately Pontypool gave away a penalty 30 metres from their goal line in midfield. Visiting full back Eamonn Rees slotted the kick at goal to put his side into a very early lead (0-3). After six minutes Newbridge were guilty of a high tackle near their posts. Pontypool chose a scrum and after several scrums and Pooler penalties, the home side failed to score and Newbridge eventually cleared.
In the 17th minute Newbridge were caught offside inside their 22. Pontypool kicked to the right corner and from the driving lineout, hooker Jamie Jeune scored a try to the right of the posts. The conversion failed (5-3). After 25 minutes Pontypool were guilty of side entry, 4 metres inside their half, 15 metres in from Newbridge’s right touchline but the attempt at goal went wide. There was no further scoring in this closely fought first 40 minutes and Pooler went into the break with a slender 2-point advantage. Half time score – Pontypool 5 Newbridge 3.
In the sixth minute of the second half Newbridge were penalised inside their 22. Pooler kicked for the right corner and from the driving lineout, Jamie Jeune was on hand again to score his second try of the afternoon, which outside half Matthew Jones converted (12-3). Two minutes later home No 8 Brendan Lampitt took a knock and was replaced by Rob Nash.
After 53 minutes Pooler were awarded a penalty as Newbridge infringed at a scrum near half way. Matthew Jones kicked for the corner and, once again, from the powerful driving lineout, Jamie Jeune scored his hat trick with a touchdown to the left of the posts. Matthew Jones added the extras (19-3). On the hour mark the visitors transgressed at a scrum inside their 22 and their loose head prop Ian George was shown the yellow card. Pooler kicked for the corner once more and the home pack drove their opponents over their goal line and Jamie Jeune scored his fourth, and the team’s bonus-point try. Matthew Jones converted (26-3).
Pontypool then made several changes in personnel as tight head prop Ollie Drake made way for Ryan Harford and try hero Jamie Jeune was replaced by Lewis Ball. Then, shortly after, Martin Luckwell replaced Aaron Quick at scrum half and Tom Hancock took the place of Matthew Jones. In the 84th minute Newbridge wing Trevor James was sin-binned for an offence at a ruck near the visitors’ 10-metre line. Final score – Pontypool 26 Newbridge 3.
After a very tight and scrappy first half, the second period produced some better rugby with the Pontypool pack dominating. This paved the way for another bonus-point victory and their eighth consecutive victory over their local rivals. Pontypool maintain their 14-point lead over second-placed Narberth in the league table but The Otters have played one more game than Pooler. Newbridge remains in fifth position.
Next Saturday Pontypool take a break from league action when they take on Tata Steel at Pontypool Park in the first round of the WRU National Cup, kick-off 2 30pm. Then the following Saturday (13 January) Pooler will host Bedlinog in the WRU National Championship, again the kick-off will be at 2.30pm.
Pontypool: Clayton Gullis, Lewis Prothero, Dan Robinson, Kieran Meek, Rhodri Usher, Matthew Jones (replaced by Tom Hancock), Aaron Quick (replaced by Martin Luckwell), Aaron Coundley (captain), Jamie Jeune (replaced by Lewis Ball), Ollie Drake (replaced by Ryan Harford), Ben Egan, Jordan Williams, Craig Attwell, Callum Davies, Brendan Lampitt (replaced by Rob Nash).
Newbridge: Eamonn Rees, Trevor James, Paul King, Lewis Hudd, Tomas Bainton, Simon Veall, Owen Clemett, Ian George, Anthony Isgrove, Curtis Hicks, Anthony Symons (captain), Geraint Weaver, Ross Cornwell, Luke Morgan, Christian Francis. Replacements: Mike Kavanagh, Scott Hoskins, Andrew Hughes, Ryan Evans, Scott Williams.