THE hope was that Rob Sidoli would come off the bench for one last hurrah at Rodney Parade.

The second row stalwart had been named as a replacement for the Dragons’ finale against Treviso six years ago, the 2005 Grand Slam winner poised for one last outing after five seasons with the region.

Yet the plan had to be ripped up courtesy of his teammates’ wastefulness in attack.

The Dragons failed to put the game to bed and it remained in the balance in the closing stages, with boss Lyn Jones opting to stick with Andrew Coombs and Matthew Screech rather than bringing on a fresh lock.

Sidoli got a winning farewell courtesy of Jason Tovey’s late penalty but had to be content with waving to the crowd while still in his training bib and jacket.

South Wales Argus:

It turned out to be the last time that the former Wales forward, who won 42 caps and played for Pontypridd, the Celtic Warriors, Cardiff Blues and Bristol, put on his boots.

Very few players get a Hollywood ending and that’s certainly the case in 2020.

Moves and exits are being announced while clubs are in lockdown; players and coaches are having to say their goodbyes by video calls thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brad Mooar said an emotional farewell to Scarlets fans on social media as he prepares to return to New Zealand to join the All Blacks set-up while the Dragons squad had a gathering on Zoom last Friday night to toast the end of the season.

The following morning it was confirmed that forwards coach Ceri Jones is leaving along with flanker Nic Cudd, centre Tyler Morgan, hooker Rhys Lawrence, fly-half Jacob Botica and back row forward James Sheekey.

READ MORE: Quiet man Jones deserves more credit for helping Dragons pack a punch

Lawrence and Botica were on the fringes wouldn’t even have got splinters from the bench next season while Sheekey was on a released list when many didn’t even know he was there.

The 25-year-old from Barry hadn’t played for the Dragons since January 2018 and was so far down pecking order for the well-stocked back row that he came after ‘PTO’.

He arrived after working as a concrete sprayer on building sites but sadly injury misfortune meant he never really got to show what he can do as a pro.

South Wales Argus:

That certainly wasn’t the case for Cudd, who grasped his opportunity in the east after arriving from Llanelli in 2012.

Perhaps the Rodney Parade treatment room should be named after the openside given the amount of stitches he had there thanks to putting his body on the line.

Fingers crossed Cudd can get a gig at another region, if not then a professional club in England, because at 31 he still has plenty to give.

Not just on the field, either. The flanker is a quiet man – a rival for Taulupe Faletau in the humility stakes – but prospects can learn a lot from him.

When Cudd suffered the second of his three serious knee injuries he was asked by new head coach Bernard Jackman to mentor a trio of young talents.

A few little tips have no doubt served Wales World Cup star Aaron Wainwright, Six Nations squad member Taine Basham and bright prospect Lennon Greggains, whose progress has been delayed by injury, well.

Up-and-comers can also learn a lot from Cudd the man, not just from his breakdown prowess. His Dragons performances were consistently good and his diligence means he has made the most of his talent.

That he is leaving is a reflection of the region’s back row riches rather than his ability.

The Dragons released Cudd but in an ideal world Morgan would be staying. Hopefully the centre will turn out to be one that got away.

South Wales Argus:

The 24-year-old from Caerleon deserves some luck with injury and fingers crossed a move west to the Scarlets will do him the power of good.

It worked in reverse for Cudd, his former lift partner Adam Warren and fly-half Sam Davies when they headed east for Newport.

Perhaps Morgan needs a change of scene, perhaps he needs a bit of kick up the backside.

Whatever is needed, let’s hope it works because he is a young man with bags of potential and plenty of rugby ahead of him.

It was that Treviso game when Sidoli sat on the bench when Morgan gave the first glimpse of his talent; explosive of the mark, pace on the outside break, good footwork and a powerful frame.

Alas, his 89 Dragons appearances have come in fits and starts because of injury woe – he was eventually diagnosed with diabetes in 2018 – and it was sadly fitting that his last outing ended with a hamstring strain in the process of scoring against Enisei-STM.

Morgan was ready to kick on after a solid but not spectacular 2016/17 when he racked up 24 games for Kingsley Jones’ side but we’re still waiting.

Wales are not blessed with midfield options so the centre who played a World Cup quarter-final against South African in 2015 could well be in the mix for France 2023. That all starts with getting game time.

It's goodbye from Morgan but who's to say that he won't be back. If he does return to bring up a Dragons century then hopefully it will be as a better player thanks to a change of fortune in scarlet.

The leavers were denied a happy ending but hopefully all can enjoy flying starts to their next career chapter.