THE NEWPORT Gwent Dragons changing-room was a mixture of delight and devastation following a sickening injury to popular wing Mike Poole that cast a shadow over a hard-earned win against the Ospreys.
Victory came at a cost with Poole stretchered off in agony in the first minute, and then influential lock Rob Sidoli failed to emerge for the second half after injuring his shoulder.
Former Wales international Sidoli, player of the season for 2011/12, will undergo a scan of his left AC joint to determine the extent of the damage.
But unlucky Poole, who has had both knees reconstructed because of ligament damage, faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines after fracturing his left ankle.
The 26-year-old, who earned a professional contract after impressing in the Premiership with Newport, went on a typically wholehearted charge into Ospreys territory but fell awkwardly as he was tackled from behind.
It left him punching the ground in frustration before he was given oxygen and stretchered off with his leg in an inflatable brace.
“We think it’s a similar injury to the one that Dan Lydiate suffered,” said head coach Darren Edwards, comparing it to the blow suffered by the Wales flanker, who is close to a return following four months on the sidelines.
“I am devastated for Mike because he has had such a tough time with injuries and was just showing what he can do – he was getting into our team on merit, which is a real feat from where he has come from.”
The injury put a dampener on a morale-boosting victory for the hosts, who headed into the game on the back of five successive defeats.
The Dragons have made a habit of losing narrow encounters but sneaked over the line thanks to six Steffan Jones penalties.
“It’s just nice to win a game of rugby and be able to pat the boys on the back,” said Edwards.
“You stay positive because our performances have been good but all people see from a game is the score. There is no hiding from that.
“Both sides put a lot of young players out on the field and you want them to express themselves, unfortunately the conditions didn’t allow that.
“We can be as brutal as we want over the performance from Saturday but the guys just needed a win, everyone who has seen us go close over the last few weeks knows that.
“Players have got to learn how to win. The worst thing is losing games and not performing, we were on the right side of the fence so it was a matter of driving them on.
“We feel that pressure as coaches and I don’t think I was a very nice person to everybody I met on Saturday because I knew what we needed to do out there.
“We were under real pressure but Steffan saw us home – we’ve missed a number of costly points recently and his goal-kicking was outstanding.”