Lydiate hoping to quickly find form
March 29, 2013
The last time Dan Lydiate played at the Milliennium Stadium, Wales beat France to win the 2012 Six Nations © Getty Images
Dan Lydiate has admitted that he is only focusing on finding his form following six months on the sidelines recovering from a broken ankle.
With two months before the Lions embark on their three-Test tour of Australia, the flanker's return adds another option to head coach Warren Gatland's permutations in the back-row. The 25-year-old was a key member of the Wales team that reached the World Cup semi-finals and was then voted player of the tournament as Wales won the 2012 Six Nations grand slam.
While he played 40 minutes in Newport Gwent Dragons' most recent match, a 52-19 loss to the Ospreys, he knows it will take him some time to rediscover his best form.
"I have that half of rugby under my belt, which gives me so much confidence," Lydiate said."I now need to start getting my match fitness back, and over the next few weeks I am hoping just to get a bit of form.
"I am not sure how long it will take. It might be the last game of the season where I will feel as if I am back. I was happy after the Ospreys game just to get through 40 minutes of rugby."
While Lydiate was still coming back from injury he had to watch as Justin Tipuric came through as another challenger for a place in Wales' back-row, while Ryan Jones made an impressive return to form.
The experience proved to be chastening for Lydiate, who has won 27 caps, but the Millennium Stadium double-header that features the Dragons against the Scarlets and Cardiff Blues against the Ospreys presents Lydiate with the chance to make an early case for his return to national team colours.
"I was hoping to be back for the Six Nations, but it is the way it goes," he said. "It has been savage watching Wales since, because I find it so hard not being involved. Everyone has up and down days and I am a pretty positive person generally, but it is when you miss out on chances that it hurts.
"After being part of a Grand Slam, but then not playing for Wales this season, it has been hard to take. I was there for the England game, and while I was chuffed for the boys, I found it difficult. The atmosphere was amazing, and not something I had experienced before, even at the Millennium.
"There is no bigger stage than the Millennium, and I am just looking forward to getting back out on that pitch."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker