Dan Lydiate is looking forward to continuing his comeback on Judgement Day
Dan Lydiate is relishing his long-awaited return to the Millennium Stadium as Newport Gwent Dragons host the Scarlets on Saturday.
The Welsh regions clash in the first East versus West derby of Judgement Day.
Lydiate has plenty of fond memories from the iconic ground having been a major part of Wales' 2012 RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam - for which he was named Player of the Championship.
And after returning to action against the Ospreys last Friday, Lydiate is thrilled to back in action at the home of Welsh
"It is exciting to come back here to the Millennium Stadium because it has been a long time since I have played here," said Lydiate. "It was over a year ago when I played against France which was not a bad occasion!
"It has been savage watching Wales since because I find it so hard not being involved. Everyone has ups and down days and I am a pretty positive person generally.
"But it is when you miss out on chances that it hurts. After being part of a Grand Slam but not being playing for Wales this season has been hard to take.
"I was here for the England game and while I was chuffed for the boys I found it difficult. The atmosphere was amazing and not something I had experienced before even at this ground
"For many of the Dragons boys this is the first time they will play at the Stadium. There is no bigger stage than the Millennium and I am just looking forward to getting back out on that pitch.
"The body was ready for me last week and I am happy just to be back on the paddock."
Lydiate has been touted as British & Irish Lion but he has limited time to secure his place on the summer tour of Australia.
And after suffering a broken neck at 19-years-old he is well aware that he can only afford to focus on one game at a time.
"Because I was injured early on in my career and picked up an ankle problem in the World Cup I have learned you can never look too far ahead," said Lydiate.
"I realise I was not going to play forever and know I have to make the most of my opportunities and I really have no regrets.
"I feel fresh because I have not been beaten up every week like I had for the previous 18 months.
"Everyone gets tired mentally and physically but I feel refreshed and am looking forward to finishing the season strongly.
"I was happy after the Ospreys game just to get through 40 minutes of rugby and my performance was almost secondary.
"I have that half under my belt which gives me so much confidence.
"I now need to start getting my match fitness back and over the next few weeks am hoping just to get a bit of form.
"I am not sure how long it will take and it might be the last game of the season where I will feel as if I am back."
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Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
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