Wales: Dan Lydiate should rejoin Dragons, says Martyn Williams

Dan Lydiate
Dan Lydiate made his Wales debut against Argentina at Millennium Stadium in 2009

Former Wales flanker Martyn Williams hopes Racing Metro's Dan Lydiate will return to Newport Gwent Dragons.

Lydiate, 26, has reached an agreement with the French side to move back to Wales after the autumn internationals.

The British and Irish Lions flanker played for Dragons between 2006 and 2013, but it is not clear yet which region he will sign for now.

"Hopefully he'll go back to Dragons, but Ospreys seem to be the favourites at the moment," said Williams.

"Whichever region he does end up in he'll only strengthen that squad. It's great news for Welsh rugby."

Lydiate, who has won 37 Wales caps, moved to Racing Metro in June last year but has struggled to hold down a first-team place.

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Lydiate's moments of magic

He had been linked with a possible return to Wales on a dual-contract split between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions, but the WRU said it "will not discuss individuals".

The creation of dual contracts was part of a £60m deal between the WRU and regions over funding and governance of the professional game in Wales.

The deal says players returning to Wales on dual contracts have to be offered first to their region of origin.

However, if the player and his region of origin cannot come to an agreement, the player is then effectively up for sale to the other three regions.

Lydiate's region of origin would be Dragons, who have just one win in six Pro12 games this season.

"The more quality we can get back into the Dragons and get them more competitive, the better," said Williams, a former Cardiff Blues captain.

"Although their back-row has gone really well this year, I'd like to see him go back to the Dragons."

Martyn Williams
Martyn Williams made 100 appearances for Wales between 1996 and 2012

Ospreys, in contrast, are top of the Pro12 table and are competing in European rugby's top-tier competition, the Champions Cup.

"[Back row] James King is doing a fantastic job there, and they've got [openside] Justin Tipuric [and number eight] Dan Baker," said Williams.

"So, for me, Dan Lydiate would fit straight in there as a blind-side."

Lydiate is part of Wales' 34-man squad preparing for Test matches against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa in November.

Williams says the 2013 British and Irish Lion must play regularly if he is to feature in Warren Gatland's side at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

"It's been a frustrating time for Dan in Paris. He wants to play every week," he said.

"World Cup year is a big year. Hopefully from now on in he can get some regular rugby."

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