Dragons key to Lydiate the Lion

Dan Lydiate admits touring with the Lions is a target but he insists his sole focus is on life with the Dragons. [more]

Dragons key to Lydiate the Lion

Dan Lydiate admits touring with the Lions is a target but he insists his sole focus is on life with the Dragons.

The Wales flanker received widespread plaudits for his fearless performances last season and has been touted as a future Lion.

And while he admits a call-up would be a dream come true, he is determined to do his talking on the pitch with the Dragons, who begin their PRO12 campaign against Italian new-boys Zebre on Friday.

"It's an exciting year with a lot of opportunities to play top quality opposition but I'm just keeping my head down," said Lydiate.

"I can only take each game as it comes but hopefully we can put a good run of form together at the Dragons leading up to the autumn internationals with Wales.

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"The Lions is another goal and dream for me but with rugby and injuries you just don't know what will happen. I just hope that if I'm fit and playing well that I will be in with a chance.

"But all of that is last on the agenda. I have to make sure I am in good form at the Dragons. Last season we were not good enough but the boys have been working hard, pre-season has served its purpose and we're all looking forward to the new campaign."

While the Dragons struggled last year, Lydiate enjoyed a thrilling campaign and scooped a hat-trick of awards for his performances on the international stage.

The chop-tackling flanker was one of the standout performers as Wales reached the World Cup semi-finals and stormed to a Six Nations Grand Slam.

He was rewarded by being named the RBS Player of the Championship, the Welsh Rugby Writers Player of the Year and the Welsh Players' Player of the Year.

But the Newport Gwent Dragons man still fears for his position – at both club and country – and is determined to develop an all round game.

"I had a good year but I always worry for my position, even at the Dragons," added the 24-year-old. "There's always pressure but you can only focus on yourself.

"It just makes me want to train harder, work on my weaknesses and keep improving on my strengths.

"There's plenty to work on, especially when there are guys pushing you all the time.

"I'm really trying to develop an all-round game. I want to make sure I'm not known for just one thing. If you get picked in the team you need to work on the things you're not so well known for.

"The chop-tackle is something that works well for me and is suited to my position but in another six months there might be a more effective way of tackling. You have to keep up to speed and keep evolving."

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