WALES great Dan Lydiate will make his first Dragons appearance in a decade in the unfamiliar position of number eight when he returns from World Cup duty to face Cardiff on Sunday.

The 35-year-old back row forward has returned to Rodney Parade after being released by the Ospreys at the end of last season.

Lydiate came through the ranks at the Dragons and made his last appearance at Edinburgh in 2013 before heading to play in France for Racing 92.

His combative exploits as a blindside flanker have won honours with Wales and the Lions yet it’s at number eight where the mid-Walian returns.

He made 85 appearances in his first spell at the club but just once – a win at Glasgow in January, 2009 – did he start with 8 on his back.

South Wales Argus: BACK Dragons legend Dan Lydiate starts against CardiffBACK Dragons legend Dan Lydiate starts against Cardiff (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Lydiate, who linked up with his new teammates this week after making one appearance at the World Cup, is one of five changes to the XV that suffered an opening weekend defeat to Edinburgh in the United Rugby Championship.

The veteran slots in at the base of the scrum in place of Ollie Griffiths, who suffered a minor shoulder injury against the Scots and isn’t risked. He should return against Munster next weekend.

Head coach Dai Flanagan makes one other change in the back row with Sean Lonsdale getting the nod ahead of George Nott at blindside.

The Dragons are without Wales full-back Cai Evans because of concussion and Jordan Williams comes in at 15 rather than shifting Angus O’Brien back from fly-half.

Dane Blacker starts at scrum-half, swapping roles with Rhodri Williams, while Ashton Hewitt is preferred to Corey Baldwin on the wing.

Flanagan has tinkered with his line-up and challenged his players to repeat the display that put them in control against Edinburgh only for a 17-6 lead with half an hour gone to turn into a 22-17 loss.

“I am quite forward-thinking and plan selections horse for course in advance,” said Flanagan.

“I don't overreact because if I do that then I will send a shudder through the group and region.

“What is overreacting going to achieve? We were good for 60 minutes against Edinburgh.”

The Dragons haven’t beaten Cardiff since the 2015 European Challenge Cup quarter-final win, a 15-game losing streak.

“Cardiff will come into the game as massive favourites because of their record against us,” insisted Flanagan.

“There is an expectation that they will win but as an underdog you are a hungry dog, and we will be hungry this weekend.”

Cardiff are boosted by the return of prop Corey Domachowski, scrum-half Tomos Williams and centre Mason Grady after World Cup duty while they are captained by ex-Dragons hooker Liam Belcher.

Dragons: J Williams; J Rosser, Tomkinson, Hughes (captain), Hewitt; O’Brien, Blacker; Martinez, Roberts, Fairbrother, Screech, Carter, Lonsdale, Keddie, Lydiate.

Replacements: Benjamin, R Jones, Brown, J Davies, Nott, R Williams, Reed, Dixon.

Cardiff: Winnett; Summerhill, Grady, Halaholo, Cabango; de Beer, Tomos Williams; Domachowski, Belcher (captain), Assiratti, Lewis-Hughes, Teddy Williams, Mann, E Jenkins, S Davies.

Replacements: Daniel, Carre, Litterick, Thornton, Young, Bevan, B Thomas, Millard.​

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)