Dan Lydiate not taking anything for granted as World Cup squad selection looms
Dan Lydiate accepts there will be a degree of “edginess and tension” around the Wales camp this week as World Cup squad selection draws closer.
Wales face world champions South Africa in their final tournament warm-up game on Saturday, before head coach Warren Gatland announces his final 33-strong group for France two days later.
At 35, flanker Lydiate hopes to be part of a third World Cup 12 years after his first one.
And he is also aware that injuries can strike a player at any time, with the current warm-up schedule having ended World Cup hopes of England scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet and France fly-half Romain Ntamack.
“You probably take nothing for granted,” he said. “You are only one injury away from not being involved or being out for a long time, as I know.
“It’s getting to the business end of pre-season now. There is a big game on the weekend for us, and then (World Cup) selection soon after that.
“There is going to be a lot of edginess and tension around camp at the minute, but if there wasn’t then you probably shouldn’t be here because that is the main goal, to go to a World Cup.
“And once you are in the World Cup, the goal is to win the next game and then the next game.”
Lydiate has endured serious injury setbacks during his career, but he has bounced back each time and once again finds himself in Wales’ hugely competitive back-row selection mix.
“I guess if it (World Cup selection) is meant to be, it will be,” he added.
“If not, then it won’t have been through a lack of effort or trying. I will know either way that I have given 100 per cent.
“I know it is not going to last forever. When I do finish playing, then at least I know I have given 100 per cent and had no regrets.
“When my time is done, then at least I can ride off knowing that I left no stone unturned and gave the best version of me.”
And with the Springboks looming, Wales will look to recover quickly from a 19-17 defeat against England at Twickenham when they blew an eight-point lead and could not capitalise on their opponents’ poor discipline that saw them at one stage have three players off the pitch.
“It was a quiet bus home,” Lydiate said. “You go up to Twickenham – it is a hard place to win at the best of times – and it felt like we could have got a big result and we let it slip away.
“Coming into training this morning, it felt a bit doom and gloom, and we’ve had some honest reviews. There is a lot of learning there.
“But there is no-one more critical of the players than themselves. You look to yourself first. You almost don’t need to be told if you’ve messed up something because you know straightaway.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.