Dan’s The Reluctant Daddy As Wales Kids Aim To Grow Up Fast

Dan Lydiate admits he is unsure he wants to be the daddy in charge of day care for the new Wales kids.

The Ospreys flanker captains Wales against Georgia at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, an honour he feels comfortable with at the third time of asking.

But when it is put to the 29-year-old he’s now the daddy in charge of a nursery-load of youngsters, he concedes with a frown: “I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

“I still feel like I’m one of the young guys. But time flies, and now we have a load of youngsters coming through. In rugby, there will always be different stages of development, and at the moment I am at the back end of it and new boys are coming in.

“I am excited to be here and captaining such a young bunch. As a pack, if we do well against a big, heavy Georgian eight, it will only stand us in good stead in the future.”

Lydiate only returned to action this season after suffering a serious knee injury when Wales beat South Africa 12 months ago. Since then, he has gone from a near automatic selection for coach Warren Gatland to a back row forward needing to convince some doubters that he has the all-round game to fit into the intended new playing style.

“I don’t like to say I am used to it (injuries), but I’ve had a run of injuries and it’s the nature of the beast in the position I play and how I play.

“You are going to pick up injuries, and when I do, they always seems to be hefty ones. In the time I’ve been out, I’ve really missed the game, and if I didn’t have that then I would have thought about calling it quits.

“But I was desperate to get back, and I’ve had a run of games with the Ospreys this season. Then to be called up to this (autumn Tests) means it has been great to be back in the environment.”

Lydiate captains a Welsh team that sees the former Lion’s 60-cap Test haul being almost twice the combined figure of his seven fellow forwards.

Prop Leon Brown, lock Adam Beard and flanker Sam Cross all make their first international starts, while Cardiff Blues second-row forward Seb Davies lines up at number eight for Georgia’s Principality Stadium visit.

And with Georgia being renowned for their rugged, uncompromising approach up-front, Lydiate sees it as an ideal examination.

“Georgia will be rubbing their hands together,” he said. “But to be fair, our boys will be doing the same. There will be nerves, but there is no better baptism of fire.”

He is also relishing the opportunity in what will be Wales’ first meeting with Georgia, coming just two years before they clash as 2019 World Cup pool rivals.

“I only say what I believe in, and if someone needs geeing up, then I will.

“I will just take it in my stride, really, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do. I will chuck myself in front of a bus for the team, so if the rest of the boys are the same, then we will get on great.

“I am one of the older players in the squad now, and I am seeing all these youngsters coming through. I remember what it’s like to have played your first, second and third Test match.

“There will be a lot of nerves there on Saturday, but it’s about channelling those in the right way and putting in a good performance on Saturday.”


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