Wales flanker Dan Lydiate admits Lions disadvantage

Dan Lydiate

Dan Lydiate knows he will have to depend on reputation rather than form to force himself into Lions reckoning.

The Wales flanker, 25, has played only four games since he fractured his ankle playing for the Dragons in September.

"I have missed a lot of rugby this year and that puts me at a disadvantage straight away, especially not playing international rugby," said Lydiate.

"It is going to be hard for me to get back into the Welsh set-up, let alone anything else."

Coach Warren Gatland names the British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia on 30 April.

Alongside Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau, Lydiate was part of the Wales back row that reached the 2011 World Cup semi-finals and completed a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2012.

But he missed the whole of this 2013 Six Nations and had to watch from the sidelines while Warburton, Ryan Jones and Aaron Shingler wore the number six shirt for Wales at various stages during the tournament.

While the best of British and Irish rugby will tour Australia for the first time since 2001, Wales tour Japan this summer.

"I have one last game with the Dragons and I owe it to them to play well in that game and what will be will be," said Lydiate, who is set to join Racing Metro at the end of the season.

"The competition with Wales this year is ridiculous and you have to be at the top of your game to get in the squad to start with.

"Then you have to push for a place. Sam played really well at six against England, but before that Ryan was having an awesome championship and you have Shingler there as well.

"There are two tours in the summer and hopefully I get on one of them, but I have missed six months of rugby and that is a long time."

Lydiate played his final game for the Dragons at Rodney Parade in the 30-24 Pro12 victory over Munster on Friday night.

He has one more game with the Men of Gwent before he is expected to join French rugby's big-spenders Racing Metro in the summer.

The 25-year-old will end a six-year stint with the Dragons and he paid tribute to the Welsh region for giving him an opportunity as a youngster.

"I have a lot of fond memories here and there is no better feeling than coming off the field with a victory," said Lydiate.

"Seeing all the dragons fans staying behind and clapping... I cannot thank them enough really.

"This is the only thing I have ever known and I cannot thank the Dragons enough for giving me a chance when I was younger.

"They have me a chance to play at the highest level and I cannot thank them enough."

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