Surprise return for Dragons star
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons insist that Dan Lydiate is 100 per cent ready for action after naming the Lions hopeful in their XV to take on the Ospreys this evening.
The Wales star will start at blindside flanker in the RaboDirect Pro12 clash against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium after six months on the sidelines.
Lydiate has not played since breaking a bone above his left ankle against Edinburgh on September 28.
He was not named in the squad on Tuesday with head coach Darren Edwards stating the 25-year-old’s comeback was being hindered by a hamstring injury.
But Lydiate has proved that two days is a long time in rugby after yesterday earning a spot in the back row with captain Lewis Evans shifting to number eight.
“Dan has not been rushed, we didn’t think that he was going to make it but he responded well this week,” Edwards said.
“He came through tests and demonstrated his fitness, running flat out. There was no reaction and only then were we happy to put him in.”
Lydiate will not play the 80 minutes and it is likely he will be replaced by fellow Wales star Toby Faletau, who has been named among the replacements.
It’s an important few weeks for the blindside as he bids to force his way into the British and Irish Lions squad for the summer tour of Australia.
Despite missing his country’s Six Nations triumph, and with Wales boss Warrren Gatland in charge of the Lions, he is well placed to head Down Under as long as he can prove his fitness.
The Dragons have just four more fixtures left in the Pro12 after tonight, three of which take place before the April 30 announcement of the Lions squad.