NEWPORT RFC boosted their Premiership play-off hopes with an impressive 34-7 win at Pontypridd on Thursday evening.
The Black and Ambers close to within six points of fourth-placed Aberavon with two games in hand thanks to the bonus point win at Sardis Road.
Ebbw Vale are in fifth, four ahead of their Gwent rivals after playing a game more. The Steelmen travel to Carmarthen Quins this weekend while the Wizards host RGC.
Newport put the pressure on their rivals with a clinical performance to build a commanding 27-7 lead at the break in Ponty.
The hosts, who are one from bottom after a tough campaign, never looked like mounting a comeback, especially when the rain came lashing down.
Pontypridd hit the front with a Rory Harries try but Newport took command through their pack.
Flanker Kyle Tayler scored in the 12th minute from a driving lineout then tighthead Garin Harris powered over from close range in the 17th minute.
Am gais gan Gasnewydd!!! 🙌 @lloydylew scores and then chats to @laurenemmaj 🤩
7 @PontypriddRFC v @NewportRFC 20
🔴 https://t.co/Opw7Jh7Fbr#IndigoPrem | @WelshRugbyUnion pic.twitter.com/RnhOOHGeJM
— S4C Rygbi (@S4CRygbi) March 30, 2023
Fit-again winger Lloyd Lewis went over in the 24th minute after a fine line break and then calm assist from the impressive centre Joe Westwood.
O'Brien was wide with that conversion but was on target from the left touchline just before the break to make it 27-7.
That was a conversion of a superb finish by Chay Foster-Smith, who crossed after an offload by Westwood and a long pass wide by flanker Josh Reid.
A fifth try came after 53 minutes when Dragons back rower Lennon Greggains, with 8 on his back, crashed over down the left.
It was job done for Newport, who have a hectic schedule to finish the league campaign plus the Premiership Cup final against Cardiff on Sunday, April 23. They host leaders Llandovery on Tuesday and third-placed Merthyr on Saturday.
The Steelmen, who are without scrum-half Jonathan Evans while he is playing for Crawshays in the Hong Kong Tens, cannot afford to slip up when they head west given that they still have to play Cardiff, Merthyr and Aberavon.