DAN Lydiate intends to build up a head of steam for the Dragons, then discuss his future.

The blindside flanker returned to Rodney Parade last summer after being the victim of cost-cutting at the Ospreys.

The Wales and Lions international posted that there was “still life in the old bull” while on the hunt for a new club and ended up being the beneficiary of Ross Moriarty turning down a fresh Dragons deal for a new challenge in France.

Lydiate is on an initial one-year deal and has no plans on hanging up the boots, but first he needs to rack up the minutes.

The 36-year-old’s start back at the Dragons was delayed due to a World Cup call-up then he was in the wars on his first game back against Leinster.

Lydiate dislocated a finger with a charge down and that was no problem – he popped that back while on the run.

He also ploughed on after fracturing rib cartilage but the blow led to him missing the games against the Ospreys, Sharks, Lions, Oyonnax and Pau.

Lydiate returned as a half-time replacement against Cardiff on Boxing Day when the game was already lost and is a starter for the New Year’s Day derby against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade (kick-off 5.15pm).

South Wales Argus: CARRY: Dan Lydiate on the charge for the Dragons at CardiffCARRY: Dan Lydiate on the charge for the Dragons at Cardiff (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“Getting 40 minutes in a tough, quick game certainly blew away a few cobwebs,” said the back rower.

“I’ve come here to play rugby and help develop some of the younger boys. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to play a lot more games, because I am not just here to be a squad member.

“I want to get a bit of momentum and play rugby.”

Whether it’s extending his Dragons contract or pushing for Six Nations selection after being a fringe figure at France 2023, Lydiate has the same approach.

“I've always been about the here and now. There is no point looking six months down the line,” he said. “It's about what I can do in training to help give the best version of me for the Dragons.”

Lydiate provides off-field value in terms of helping develop the young talent – particularly up and coming back row forwards Ryan Woodman and George Young – but his on-field attributes will be key against the Scarlets.

Physicality will be key as the Dragons attempt to restore some pride after their Boxing Day shocker at the Arms Park when Cardiff scored seven of their nine tries in the first half, cruising to a 55-21 win.

South Wales Argus: LOW: Dan Lydiate after the Dragons loss at CardiffLOW: Dan Lydiate after the Dragons loss at Cardiff (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“It was quite a dark start to the week with honest reviews, which was needed,” said Lydiate.

“In rugby you can't dwell for too long. You have to learn from mistakes pretty quickly and we have to put things right on New Year's Day.

“We don't need someone else to tell us that we underperformed. On our first working day you would feel the atmosphere.

“Nobody was hurting more than the players and coaches in this environment. It's not my first dark meeting like that throughout my career and it's how we bounce back.

“It was doom and gloom on the first day of work but we’ve flicked the switch.”

Now Lydiate will hope to start 2024 by experiencing a first Dragons win since beating Munster in April 2013 at Rodney Parade.