The biggest coup undoubtedly was the signing of Natal Sharks and ex-Springboks No 8 / captain Gary Teichmann. Other players to join included Jason Forster (flanker), Andy Marinos (centre), Jason Jones-Hughes (centre) and Damien Cummins (hooker).
Newport were severely hampered with the loss of World Cup players at the beginning of the season but started off with a magnificent 18 v 13 win against Cardiff under acting captain Jason Forster in front of a near 10,000 crowd. The hero was fullback Gareth Cull who kicked all 6 of his penalties.
Unfortunately defeats at home followed to Neath and Pontypridd when Teichmann made his debut. Wins against Ebbw Vale and a rare win (first since 1977-78) at Stradey Park vs Llanelli were marred by a defeat at Swansea.
It was very much up and down with a poor start to the European Shield with a defeat at Bedford. Newport beat Castres at home but then lost away which ended their Shield hopes. A real low followed in February 2000 when coach Allan Lewis' side under captain Shane Howarth turned in a truly inept performance at Eugene Cross Park to go down to Ebbw Vale 29 v 17.
This was to prove to be the turning point for the whole season. Howarth and Smith switched positions fullback / outside half and Howarth handed the captaincy to Springbok legend Gary Teichmann. Newport then won a famous 22 v 13 WRU Cup victory over Cardiff at Rodney Parade. They did lose at Llanelli the eventual winners, but won every other game until the end of the season to finish as runners-up in the Welsh Premier Division to Cardiff - their highest ever position and in doing so qualified for the major Heineken European Cup competition for the following season.
Shane Howarth was top scorer with 288pts (304pts in all matches). Top try scorers were wing Ben Breeze 17 and flanker Jason Forster with 13 tries. Forster led the appearances with 29 followed by that great stalwart and popular forward Gareth Taylor on 28 and Ben Breeze on 26.
So the curtain fell on a high note. Had the giant finally awoken from its sleep to take itself back towards the top of Welsh rugby?
The season had also seen the publication by Tempus Publishing Ltd. of 'Images of Sport Newport Rugby Football Club 1874-1950' compiled by club historian Steve Lewis.