Dan Lydiate says he intends to lead by example when he captains the British & Irish Lions for the first time today.
Lydiate will skipper the side against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park this evening as the Lions look to build on Saturday’s first Test success over the Qantas Wallabies and bounce back from their most recent mid-week outing when they were beaten by the Brumbies.
The Wales blindside has always let his actions speak louder than his words and he sees no reason to change that approach when he takes on the mantle of leading Britain and Ireland’s elite.
“I’m not going to keep talking and talking gibberish. I’ll just try and get my points across and just lead as I play,” said Lydiate, who doesn’t have a huge amount of captaincy experience behind him but has impressed head coach Warren Gatland and co with his attitude and application on his maiden Lions adventure.
“I captained the Dragons a few times – my regional side – but apart from that I haven’t been captain that often. But I’m just really looking forward to it now.
“I’ll just go out there and play as hard as I can, that’s me really. I’m not going to try and over complicate things or try and do things I wouldn’t usually do. I’ll just try and keep it simple.
“It was a massive win for us on the weekend and we’ve got the chance now to prove ourselves and keep that momentum going towards what’s going to be an even bigger test this weekend. We’re all just looking forward to it – it’s a big opportunity for the boys that are playing.
“Everyone wanted to play in the first Test and there were a lot of disappointed boys who didn’t get picked in that matchday 23 and boys who didn’t get on the pitch from the bench. So it’s our chance now to put our hands up and all the boys are chomping at the bit.”
Much has been made of what Lydiate describes as a ‘massive opportunity’ for the Lions’ mid-week side but what about the opposition? The Rebels have picked their strongest possible side, with head coach Damien Hill promising to give the tourists a real run for their money in Victoria.
Lydiate knows Rebels captain Gareth Delve well from his time with Wales, while centre Rory Sidey spent time playing alongside Lydiate at the Dragons. It means the 25-year-old is under no illusions as to what will lie ahead this evening and he’s determined to ensure the Lions don’t suffer a repeat of their Canberra setback under his watch.
“Obviously we’ve talked about Gareth Delve. Delvey is a really good boy and I’ve got a lot of time for him. I’ve never played against him before, though, so it should hopefully be a good contest,” added Lydiate.
“Rory Sidey came over and played for the Dragons so I spent a lot of time with him as well. The Rebels have got quality players throughout: if they have a sniff they are going to take the chance, so we know it’s going to be a difficult match.
“I daresay we will be blowing quite a bit because it will be an open game. The pitch is lovely, really good underfoot, so hopefully it will be a really fast, open game.
“We all want to put on that Test jersey and play so we’re all going out there to get the result. There is no game you go out there not thinking you’re going to win so this is a massive opportunity for us. All the boys are really chomping at the bit to 1), perform well as a team, but 2), to perform well as an individual and really put their hands up.”