Wales captain Sam Warburton welcomes Dan Lydiate's return

Dan Lydiate (L) and Sam Warburton (R)
Dan Lydiate (L) and Sam Warburton (R) won the Grand Slam with Wales in the 2012 Six Nations

Wales captain Sam Warburton has welcomed the return of his international back row partner Dan Lydiate to Welsh rugby.

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

It is not clear yet which Welsh region the former Newport Gwent Dragons flanker will sign for.

"I'm sure there's a lot of clubs interested but it will be great to see him back in Wales," said Warburton.

"Dan's a top quality player."

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

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 he played for between 2006 and 2013.

They have just one win in six Pro12 games this season.

Warburton, who has also played with Lydiate for the British and Irish Lions, would welcome teaming up with him at Cardiff Blues.

"We've got a lot of top quality back rowers at the Blues," said Warburton.

"But there's always going to be room for a player of Dan's ability at any club in the northern hemisphere in my opinion.

"What he brings to the game in defence is unrivalled really by any other blind side flanker that I've played with or against."

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