Lydiate boost for Wales
October 1, 2011
Dan Lydiate was injured against Samoa © Getty Images
Dan Lydiate is on course to win his punishing fitness battle and give Wales a major boost ahead of next weekend's probable World Cup quarter-final against Ireland in Wellington.
The Newport Gwent Dragons flanker cut a forlorn figure when he limped off just 10 minutes into Wales' Pool D victory over Samoa 13 days ago. There were initial fears the 23-year-old might play no further part in a tournament that had seen him star alongside Wales back-row colleagues Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau.
But Lydiate looks set to rejoin full squad training early next week after a gruelling recovery regime that included him getting up every two hours through the night to ice his ankle and keep the swelling down.
"I had my head in my hands as I came off the pitch," Lydiate said. "My world had come crashing down. I was very worried, gutted when it happened. I had wanted to build on the performance from the week before against South Africa.
"As soon as I came off, we started icing the ankle. It was hard work getting up every two hours, but I didn't want to go home. Apparently, I nearly did get sent home, but I just tried to do everything I could so that wouldn't happen."
Lydiate also wore a protective plastic moon boot for a while, adding: "It was more for protection, in case somebody stepped on my foot or I fell down the stairs. You don't want to give it (World Cup) up. You want to fight tooth and nail off the pitch, as well as on it, to be here for as long as you can."
Part of Lydiate's recovery process included him seeing the Wales squad sports psychologist Andy McCann, whose positive outlook helped him through some initial dark days.
"A lot of the boys see Andy," Lydiate said. "He's been really good for me about positive thinking and that sort of thing. Touch wood, I am going to be linking up with the squad on Monday. I have just started running, up and down the stairs.
"I am not the best watcher, so watching the boys playing against Namibia the other day was hard. But it's an awesome experience to be here - it has been class so far. It will be hard to get back in the team. Ryan Jones played really well last Monday, and all the back-row boys have played well.
"We have been under the radar at this World Cup. We are going really well, and the boys are in a good place. There are always things to work on, but they seem fresh and really hungry.
"There is still a real competitive edge in training. We've had it since pre-season because no one wants to give up their place and go home.
"We came off some good results pre-World Cup, and we were so gutted to lose against South Africa. It has been a tough group. As long as we get out of it, it's just one-off games then."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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