EMOTIONAL Will Croker said Mike Haines’s horror injury against Exeter University had been “the worst thing I had seen on a rugby pitch”.

The Lions winger dislocated his knee during the latter stages of the South West Premier encounter, during which Croker’s men sealed a 34-15 triumph.

But the Bournemouth head coach admitted the result had been overshadowed by the horrific injury to Haines.

He told the Daily Echo: “We played some really good rugby but, of course, it was tempered by an injury to such a lovely young lad.

“Mike is a really nice guy and an incredibly talented rugby player. We just hope it’s not as serious as we all first thought. It was the worst thing I had seen on a rugby pitch, I would suggest.

“It was a dislocated knee. The whole knee came apart and separated. His leg just gave way.

“It was a massive shock. This was a guy who played England students rugby last year, played for Exeter Braves and had his whole career in front of him.

“He absolutely loves the sport and will do all he can to get back, I’m absolutely certain of that. It’s just whether physiologically his knee will be in the shape for him to do it.

“We will offer him all the support we can and all of the rehab to make sure he gets back as strong as ever.”

A number of Lions’ staff took to the field to aid Haines at Chapel Gate. He had been facing up against the team he had represented last season.

As well as medical staff on the scene, doctors Adam Davies and Freddie Gleadowe, who were playing for Lions in the fixture, also gave their assistance.

The conclusion of the clash had then been set to take place on pitch three at Bournemouth’s headquarters before it was able to resume on the main surface.

“We were so proud of the cover he received,” added director of rugby Croker, who confirmed the club had insurance covering their senior sides in case of injury.

“We had Matt Baker, who is a consultant in charge of accident and emergency at Bournemouth, a top paramedic in Hannah Hunter and Andy Curtis, who is one of the most qualified physios you will find in the game. Then we had two doctors on the pitch in Freddie and Adam.

“Also, a huge thanks must go to Alan Gilbert, one of our supporters who provides us with lots of medical equipment.

“Mike got the best treatment he could and they were able to replace the knee on the pitch, which is almost unheard of.”

Tries from Sam Hardcastle, Gleadowe and skipper Joe Rees, as well as five points from the boot of Grant Hancox put Lions 20-10 up at the interval.

The hosts then added to their tally through converted scores from Davis and Jack Hennings to record their ninth straight league success.

“It would have been easy for the boys to switch off and they might have got distracted,” added Croker. “But we came back on the pitch and actually increased our lead.

“I was incredibly proud of the way the guys reacted to it.”

Hancox’s successful kicks saw him break through the 900-point barrier for Lions in the league.

League leaders Bournemouth are four points clear of Ivybridge at the summit – they beat bottom side Old Patesians 36-13 on Saturday.

Bournemouth are next in action when they visit fourth-place Exmouth on Saturday, November 17.

They then host promotion rivals Ivybridge on November 24 before a trip to Maidenhead on December 1.