NEWPORT Gwent Dragons are sweating on the fitness of Wales star Toby Faletau after he injured his right ankle in the warm-up for Saturday’s clash with Munster, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 21-year-old number eight, who was set to be among the replacements, left Thomond Park in a ‘moon boot’ after suffering a swelling on his return to the changing-room following a pre-match blow.
It meant the Dragons had just seven on their bench in the 33-13 RaboDirect Pro12 loss because regulations meant Faletau could not be replaced with travelling reserve Hywel Stoddart at such a late time.
Tom Brown produced an all-action performance at the heart of the back row against Munster but the Dragons will be keen to have the option of Faletau for Friday’s crucial encounter with Edinburgh at Rodney Parade.
The region then travel to Llanelli for the derby against the Scarlets before the start of their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign.
Wales will also have their fingers crossed for good news about 17-times capped Faletau ahead of the autumn internationals, which start with the visit of Argentina to Cardiff on November 10.
Meanwhile, Dragons head coach Darren Edwards paid tribute to his players after they responded to their meek loss to Cardiff Blues with a much-improved performance in Limerick, albeit one that wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard.
“Edinburgh is a massive game but if we reproduce what we did against a good Munster team then we will be all right,” said head coach Darren Edwards.
“There is no doubt that we failed to do ourselves justice against the Blues but on Saturday we had a good tempo to our game.
“Of course we are not happy with coming away from a game with nothing but we are making small steps and the boys really stuck in there.
“We went toe to toe against a good Munster side but they gave us a lesson in being clinical – they took every point that was on offer out there.
“There is plenty for us to build on from that performance, while there was nothing after the Blues. That momentum needs to be carried into the Edinburgh game now, because it really is a must-win.”
The Dragons have failed to add to the five points that they earned on the opening night against Zebre and have slipped to tenth in the table after three defeats on the spin.