Dan Lydiate: Wales flanker set for Ospreys debut against Ulster

Dan Lydiate
Dan Lydiate joined Ospreys following his departure from French side Racing Metro where he spent just 17 months
Pro12: Ospreys v Ulster
Venue: Liberty Stadium Date: Saturday, 20 December Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Cymru and updates on BBC Sport website

Wales flanker Dan Lydiate is set to make his Ospreys debut against Ulster in the Pro12 on Saturday.

Lydiate, 26, joined Ospreys on a national dual contract between the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the region on 9 December.

"I came to Ospreys to play at the highest level," said Lydiate, who has been capped 41 times by Wales.

The blind-side also said he would have been paid the same whichever region he joined.

Lydiate's moments of magic

"It wasn't the case that one region outbid another region," said Lydiate.

"Wherever I went it was the same money, so I had to make that choice, but my negotiation was with the WRU and it was wherever I decided to go then."

Lydiate played for Newport Gwent Dragons between 2006 and 2013, before moving to French side Racing Metro in June 2013.

However, he struggled to hold down a first-team place and reached an agreement to leave Racing in October.

In November, it was announced the back-row forward was among 12 players to be offered dual contracts by the WRU.

Lydiate, who featured in all three Lions Tests in the victorious 2013 tour of Australia, says he enjoyed his time in France but was pleased to leave Racing.

"They've [Racing] got such strength in depth, but for me I need to play rugby and the more rugby I play, I pick up form. I just wasn't given enough game time," said Lydiate.

"I think I'm just a sort of different player to what the coach wanted at the time.

"Apart from the rugby side of it, it was a great experience.

"I was quite fortunate they were willing to release me and give me the chance to come here."

Dan Lydiate
Dan Lydiate endured a frustrating 17 months in Paris

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 states players returning to Wales on dual contracts must first be offered to their region of origin.

In Lydiate's case this would have been Dragons, but he decided to join the Swansea-based region instead of returning to Rodney Parade.

"Obviously the Ospreys and the Dragons were keen for me to come back so I had quite a tough decision to make, but it was a nice position to be in that teams wanted me," said Lydiate.

"The main reason [I chose Ospreys] was the rugby. That's why I left the Dragons to start with - I wanted to play at the highest level in terms of club rugby and that was the European Champions Cup.

"I had a chance to come back and hopefully in January I will play in that tournament again. With my family settling down in west Wales it sort of seemed to be the right fit for me."

Lydiate says he is "excited" to be joining the Ospreys and is looking forward to making his debut for them on Saturday.

"They've [Ospreys] been playing some good rugby," he said.

"Most of the team are very young. You've obviously got some experienced players there but it seems a good mix.

"It's a lot to take in but I'm looking forward to working down here.

"The happiest I've been in the last few months is when I was playing for Wales so hopefully I can get some game time down here.

"But there's obviously stiff competition with James King and the like."

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