After 6 seasons of great success 1897-98 proved to be an anti-climax and 7 matches were lost under new captain Bert Dauncey. Cardiff won all 4 matches for the first time and Newport lost for the first time at the Rectory Field, Blackheath.
Arthur Gould played 3 games and retired, W. Parsons had married and retired as had Tom Pearson but he did return. R. L. Thomas, E. W. Porter and F. W. Davies had turned professional with Oldham Rugby League, and only 8 of the old players were left.
New players to make an impact were Jehoida Hodges (Risca), Reg Skrimshire (Blaenavon), George Boots (Aberbeeg) and Lou Phillips. Boots and Hodges were destined to become great players, Newport captains and play for Wales. Skrimshire (cente) was also to play for Wales and the British Lions. He scored 16 tries but often starved his wings. Ll. Lloyd played at centre and it was later that he was to form an outstanding half-back partnership with Lou Phillips. J. H. Dunn did well and would have won international honours had he not gone to sea.
No fewer than 40 players were used with J. H. Dunn (28), Ll. Lloyd (27), Bert Dauncey (27), George Jones (27) and J. J. Hodges (27) making most appearances. Bert Dauncey scored 19t and Reg Skrimshire 16t.