WALES flanker Dan Lydiate will not make his Newport Gwent Dragons return against Leinster on Friday.
The 25-year-old blindside has been out of action since breaking his ankle against Edinburgh at Rodney Parade on September 28.
Lydiate, Six Nations player of the tournament in 2012, had hoped to make his regional return in time to put himself in contention for the finale against England on March 16.
However, a combination of his ankle injury and a slight hamstring strain means that his target is now the RaboDirect Pro12 clash with the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium the following weekend.
Lydiate will be keen to finish the season strongly with the Dragons so that he can ensure he is a member of the British and Irish Lions squad for the summer tour of Australia.
The flanker may not have played Test rugby in 2012/13 but has enough credit with head coach Warren Gatland to be on the plane Down Under.
The Dragons have named a large 29-man squad for Friday’s game against in-form Leinster.
Bedwas lock/back row forward James Thomas, who was on the Dragons’ books until 2011, is retained after being an unused replacement in Sunday’s 14-13 Pro12 win against Zebre.
Fly-half/centre Lewis Robling and wing Matthew Pewtner, who have been getting game time in the Premiership at Bridge Field, are recalled to the squad.
Loosehead prop Owen Evans has recovered from a twisted ankle but centre Ashley Smith is absent and will today have a scan on the shoulder that he injured in Parma.
European champions and last year’s Pro12 runners-up Leinster have won their last seven games in all competitions and sit third in the table.
Dragons squad: H Amos, D Evans, T Prydie, M Pewtner, W Harries, A Hughes, J Dixon, P Leach, L Robling, S Jones, W Evans, J Evans, P Price, A Coundley, O Evans, N Williams, H Gustafson, S Parry, D Way, N Buck, T Ryan, I Nimmo, A Jones, R Sidoli, J Thomas, N Cudd, L Evans, I Jones, J Groves.