Dan Lydiate on trial for Lions in Welsh cauldron

Judgement Day games give back-rower chance to offer evidence of his fitness and form

Dan Lydiate has already enjoyed one spectacular triumph over adversity in his rugby career – and today's Millennium Stadium "Judgement Day" could herald another.

Lydiate is just 40 minutes into his comeback after suffering a broken ankle six months ago, but he hopes his performance for Newport-Gwent Dragons against the Scarlets will prove another step towards selection for Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions squad for this summer's tour to Australia.

Such is the 25-year-old Wales player's standing – he is among the most destructive back-row players in world rugby – that Lions head coach Gatland looks almost certain to take him Down Under, fitness permitting.

Lydiate has appointments with Ulster and Munster before Gatland's scheduled 30 April squad announcement. But given that Lydiate made his Wales debut barely two years after breaking his neck in Perpignan and travelling home from France by air ambulance, it would be foolish to bet against him becoming a 2013 Lion.

"Because I was injured early on in my career and then picked up an ankle problem in the [2011] World Cup, I have learnt you can never look too far ahead," Lydiate said yesterday. "I realise I am not going to play for ever, and I know I have to make the most of my opportunities.

"I feel fresh because I have not been beaten up every week like I had for the previous 18 months. Everyone gets tired, mentally and physically, but I feel refreshed and I am looking forward to finishing the season strongly.

"I was happy after the Ospreys game last Friday just to get through 40 minutes of rugby. My performance was almost secondary. I have that half of rugby under my belt, which gives me so much confidence. I now need to start getting my match fitness back, and over the next few weeks I am hoping just to get a bit of form. I am not sure how long it will take. It might be the last game of the season where I will feel as if I am back."

Gatland gave Lydiate his Test debut against Argentina in 2009, and the New Zealander knows more than most what the 27 times-capped blind-side flanker is about.

Even though the Lions back-row selections promise to be Gatland's most detailed area of deliberation next month, a fully fit Lydiate more than holds his own in any company the best of Britain and Ireland can provide.

"I was hoping to be back for the Six Nations, but it is the way it goes," Lydiate said. "Sometimes the harder you train, it does not always work out the quicker you will be back. But the body was ready for me last week, and I am happy just to be back on the paddock."

Will Genia, the Australia scrum-half, boosted his Wallabies hopes before the Lions tour after he stepped up his comeback from injury with a try for Queensland Reds in their 34-33 Super 15 win over the Highlanders yesterday.

It was Genia's second game since his return from knee surgery following a cruciate ligament injury in September last year.

And as well as scoring the Reds' fourth try, he inspired the fly-half Quade Cooper to put in one of his best performances this season, kicking 14 points against the New Zealanders.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
World Book Day
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot