DAN Lydiate has thanked Newport Gwent Dragons for making his Lions dreams come true as he prepares for life in Paris.

The blindside flanker arrived back in Wales yesterday after helping the British and Irish Lions win in Australia and end a 16-year wait for a series success.

Chop-tackling Lydiate came off the bench in the first Test success in Brisbane before earning starts in the back row in Melbourne and Sydney.

The 25-year-old will now enjoy a well-earned rest before starting the next chapter of his rugby career in France.

After seven seasons with the Dragons he will be playing for the star-studded Racing Metro in the Top14.

But Lydiate, who has just three weeks off before heading across La Manche for pre-season, won’t forget those at Rodney Parade.

“Getting capped for Wales was a massive honour but to be part of a winning Lions tour is incredible,” said Lydiate.

“To not only have played in the Tests but to have captained the Lions (against Melbourne Rebels) is a dream come true.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without the Dragons and I can’t thank them enough for all that they’ve done for me.

“It’s still not really sunk in and I’m over the moon to have been part of this, especially after being injured for so much of the season (after breaking his ankle in September). I counted myself lucky to be on the tour so to get a cap off the bench was incredible then it got even better with two starts.”

The Dragons provided two members of the back row for the final Test with Lydiate joining forces with regional teammate Toby Faletau and Ireland’s Sean O’Brien.

And the blindside flanker paid tribute to his Rodney Parade pal, who was sensational on his Lions Test debut last Saturday.

“It was awesome to start with Toby,” said Lydiate. “He’s been brilliant for the Dragons, for Wales and now the Lions.

“He was incredible throughout the tour and deserved to get his Test cap. He showed in Sydney just what a quality player he is.

“I’m looking forward to a new challenge in France but hopefully I will be picked for the autumn internationals because I can’t wait to be reunited with him.”

l Series win can spur on Wales, says Jamie Roberts: page 45