1981-82 under new captain Kerry Williams started with a win over Penarth, a narrow defeat at Coventry and a win over Bath at Rodney Parade. There followed an inept display at Bristol and a humiliating record defeat 9 v 46 by Pontypool at Rodney Parade.
Newport never fully recovered from these two defeats and only won 10 of the remaining 22 games until the end of the year with the two highlights being a narrow defeat by Swansea and an outstanding win over a successful Gloucester team.
The second half of the season continued to be disappointing with only 8 wins from 23 games. Newport did progress to the Welsh Cup Q/F before being comprehensively beaten by Aberavon at Rodney Parade.
Captain Kerry Williams played 42 of the 45 matches as he tried to lift the team. Rhys Morgan (282) and Colin Smart (269) passed 250 appearances for the 1st XV while Gareth Evans (230) and David Waters (220) passed the 200 mark. These 4 together with Robert Ackerman, John Churchill, Alun Billinghurst and Roger Powell were the mainstays of the team. New outside half Mike Goldsworth (ex-Penarth) scored 236pts from 35 games and other newcomers were former Wales B hooker Mike Watkins and Wales B scrum half Leighton O'Connor. Robert Ackerman and Gareth Evans were leading try scorers with 10 each taking Gareth to 90 overall for the club. 54 players were used with Kerry Williams (42). John Widdecombe (41) and Gareth Evans leading the appearances.
March saw the WRU Challenge Cup Semi-Final between Cardiff and Newbridge staged at Rodney Parade.