This was not one of Cardiff's greatest days. Staring at a 22-0 deficit, including three of the softest tries imaginable, on the scoreboard in as many minutes, what little satisfaction they can take from a disjointed performance might be that they didn't concede a fourth try until five minutes from the end.
Both teams could have been excused if they suffered a crisis of identity. Four of Newport's starting pack were one-time Blue & Blacks, plus lock Matthew Amos on the bench where, for good measure, he sat alongside Cardiff's cup final scrum-half of 18 months ago, Tom Isaacs. Not to be outdone Cardiff fielded four erstwhile Black & Ambers, Ryan Howells, Gareth Chapman, Ian George and Garry Horrigan and with Rhys James as a replacement hooker.
Such is the freemasonry of the Premiership. But there was little sign of old pals getting on well in a fractious encounter
When both sides concentrated on the rugby, Cardiff gave away scrums and lineouts at vital moments, the kicking out of hand – at least until Lee Jarvis came on for the final half-hour – was abject, and the whole team came a distant second in all the crucial contact situations.
The writing was on the wall from the kick-off when the Blue & Blacks were penalised for not releasing at the first ruck and Jason Tovey powered over a penalty goal from 45 metres. Ten minutes later Ryan Howells 'sold' himself going for an interception in his own 22 and Tovey strolled over for the first try.
Worse was to come. In the 20th minute from a lineout on the left Mike Poole came off the blindside wing and split the midfield defence for a ridiculously easy try under the posts. Three minutes after that Cardiff were pushed off the ball at a scrum on halfway and the ball was slipped on the short side to Poole who crossed in the corner. Dan Griffiths added the extras to both tries.
Facing a whitewash – it looked probable even after the first quarter – Gareth Davies accepted the opportunity to put some points on the board with a short range penalty in the 27th minute. But the half ended as it had begun with Cardiff this time losing a lineout to Dan McShane and Griffiths slotted a drop goal.
To cap an inglorious 40 minutes both packs became embroiled in an off the ball wrestling match and opposing tight-heads, Palmer and Murphy were yellow-carded.
Cardiff showed more purpose after the interval but a plethora of possession produced little incisive attacking. To add to their woes, Damian Welch was binned in the 52nd minute for obstruction. One glimmer of imagination came from Jarvis when he chipped over the flat defence but Howells failed to get to the touchdown inches over the dead ball line.
The final embarrassment was Tom Isaacs looping around from second phase possession for Andrew Brown to ensure Newport's bonus point in a well-deserved victory.