CARETAKER boss Ceri Jones says it was pure heart that ended the Dragons’ Guinness PRO14 derby hoodoo after a dramatic victory against the Ospreys.

The Rodney Parade region sneaked a 23-22 success in Newport thanks to fly-half Jason Tovey’s late penalty and then a miss in the 80th minute by his opposite number Sam Davies.

The win ended a nightmare 23-game league losing run against Welsh rivals that stretched back to a success at Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day, 2016.

Wing Jared Rosser and hooker Elliot Dee scored tries but it was the Dragons’ tenacity in defence that proved to be the difference against an Ospreys side featuring Wales big guns Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North and Scott Williams.

The Dragons, who were denied a draw by Gareth Anscombe’s last-gasp penalty at the Blues the previous week, put in some telling blows in their first home outing since shipping nine tries in a 59-10 humiliation against Leinster.

“It was a big defensive display and the boys worked really hard for each other,” said forwards coach Jones, who is in charge after the sacking of Bernard Jackman.

“It was just huge heart, the boys really put that on show for each other again and backed up last week’s performance.

“It was a great kick by ‘Tovs’ and for the Sam Davies one my heart was in my mouth because I thought that it was going to go the same way as last week, but it wasn’t to be so we are pleased with the result and performance.

“Defence reflects attitude and the boys worked really hard for each other. That shows how hard they are prepared to play for each other.”

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The victory sparked wild scenes on the pitch and on the terraces as the long-suffering Rodney Parade faithful toasted a first league derby win in Newport since 2013.

“You could probably hear the crowd back in Usk, where I come from. They were pretty loud,” said former Wales prop Jones.

“Rodney Parade is a proper rugby ground and when we put that sort of performance in, a performance that the region can be proud of, that crowd really supports us.”

Jones has at least one more game at the helm while the board hunt for a permanent replacement for Jackman.

The forwards coach has impressed since being asked to call the shots but insists he isn’t in the running for the top job.

“I am just here to just do a job until after the Scarlets. I am the caretaker coach and that win was down to the boys and their performance, they were huge.

“It’s down to the players, they have been making these steps all year long and it’s 100 per cent down to them. They are making baby steps, they are doing a really good job and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

The Dragons travel to Llanelli on Saturday with the aim of ending another streak – they haven’t won on the road in the PRO14 since March, 2015.