WRU chief Roger Lewis defends Dan Lydiate return

Dan Lydiate
Dan Lydiate played for the 2013 British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis has defended the decision to bring Dan Lydiate back to Wales.

Flanker Lydiate, 26, has reached an agreement to leave Racing Metro after just 17 months in France.

He is expected to join one of the four Welsh Regions after November's autumn internationals on a dual contract, part funded by the union.

"It's got to be what's right for Welsh rugby, what Warren Gatland our national coach feels is right." said Lewis.

Lydiate is part of Wales' 34-man squad preparing for Test matches against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa in November, which kick-off against the Wallabies on Saturday.

Wales' autumn Tests
Saturday, 8 November: v Australia (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 15 November: v Fiji (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 22 November: v New Zealand (17:30 BST)
Saturday, 29 November: v South Africa (14:30 BST)
*All games to be played at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

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

He played for Newport Gwent Dragons between 2006 and 2013, but it is not clear yet which region he will sign for now.

In October, newly-appointed WRU chairman Gareth Davies said he wanted the money for dual contracts to be used to retain players currently playing in Wales.

But Lewis says it is entirely up to Gatland which players get the new deals and Welsh players currently playing abroad, including Lydiate, may be on his list.

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Lydiate's moments of magic

"Not all players who have gone overseas have experienced the situations that perhaps they expected to," said Lewis.

"Then we've got to be absolutely broad minded and pragmatic and understanding and sensitive, to what's right for Welsh rugby, particularly in World Cup year."

Lewis said Gatland has submitted the list of players he wants signed up to dual contracts to the four Welsh regions and will announce which players will join captain Sam Warburton on such agreements, over the "coming weeks".

"We've got to get behind the national coach in what's probably the most important year in the history of Welsh rugby to date," he added.

"We have such an extraordinary year of rugby and a World Cup ahead of us and we've all got to back Warren."

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