NEWPORT Gwent Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate is hoping he gets more of a chance to test his lungs in tonight’s friendly with London Irish than he did in the south of France last weekend.

The Wales star made his return to the regional fray against Biarritz after being given an extended summer break following his international exertions in Australia.

But the 24-year-old went from lying by the beach in Cape Verde to sitting down on the sidelines by the Bay of Biscay after falling foul of the French official.

“I came on for the last quarter but as soon as I got on the field I was sin-binned,” lamented last season’s Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I wasn’t doing anything wrong in my eyes but the ref clearly felt I was doing something illegal. Wha-tever it was I don’t think it was worth a yellow card… he mustn’t have liked me!

“It was a bit of a blow in my first hit out of pre-season but hopefully I’ll benefit from more than ten minutes against London Irish.

“I just need to blow away the cobwebs and you need games to get back up to speed, to get your timings back and work out areas that we need to improve on for our first Pro12 game against Zebre.

“I’ve had a nice break from rugby and totally switched off, which you need to do whatever your job.

“But I am back to it now, I’ve switched back on and I am gearing up for the start of the season.”

Lydiate starts against London Irish this evening and is keen for a good showing in the final run out before the RaboDirect Pro12 kicks off on Friday, August 31.

The 40-3 loss in Biarritz came after a reverse to a Gwent Select XV but the blindside sees no reason for panic.

“We made too many errors against Biarritz but some of the younger players really stepped up,” he said.

“An improvement is needed as we build towards the start of the season and this is our last game before Zebre and our final chance to put down our plays and gel as a squad.”

Lydiate added: “It would be nice to get a win in front of our home crowd and build momentum because if we can hit the ground running in the Pro12 then we can build confidence and go from strength to strength.”