NEWPORT Gwent Dragons face a back row injury crisis after three flankers were sidelined on a nightmare weekend.
Wales star Dan Lydiate broke his left ankle in Friday’s RaboDirect Pro12 win against Edinburgh and faces four to six months on the sidelines.
Jevon Groves replaced the blindside in the clash against the Scots and maintained his fine start to the season with an impressive display at the breakdown.
However, the 24-year-old suffered a bang to a foot in the success and, after being put in a ‘moon boot’, faces a scan to determine the severity of the injury.
It is deemed a precautionary move but at the very least he looks set to miss Friday’s clash with the Scarlets in Llanelli.
The news does not appear to be so good for blindside Hywel Stoddart, who damaged knee ligaments playing for Newport at his old club Llandovery at the weekend.
The 26-year-old will also go for a scan but it looks likely that he will be turning up on crutches to his October 16 appeal against the red card he was shown when playing for the Black and Ambers against Bedwas last month.
The three injuries leave the Dragons down to the bare bones in the back row for Friday’s trip to Llanelli and for the coming Amlin Challenge Cup campaign.
Openside Darren Waters is already expected to miss most of the season after suffering knee ligament damage in pre-season while lock/back row Andrew Coombs is out for another few weeks after also suffering a blow to the knee in the Pro12 opener against Zebre.
It means the Dragons have just five fit back row forwards in their squad – Lewis Evans, Toby Faletau, Tom Brown, Ieuan Jones and Nic Cudd.
Neither 19-year-old Jones nor Cudd, who signed from Llanelli last month, have played for the region in a Pro12 fixture, meaning they could face a baptism of fire against the Scarlets.
It will also be a concern that the Dragons will have to cope without Faletau while he is on Wales duty in the autumn internationals.