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Lydiate gives lift to Wales

Flanker Dan Lydiate has given Wales a boost ahead of the Six Nations with news that he could be back in action at the start of February.

The 25-year-old has made a swift recovery after suffering a broken ankle back in September playing for Newport Gwent Dragons.

Lydiate is unlikely to feature in the clash with Ireland in Cardiff on 2 February but should be available to Wales interim coach Rob Howley for the other matches in the competition.

Dragons boss Darren Edwards is confident that will be the case as Wales sorely missed Lydiate when they lost four consecutive autumn internationals.

"He is on course for the start of February," Edwards said.

"It wouldn't surprise me if Dan has a half of rugby for us and Wales throw him straight in. He's that important - we saw how much he was missed during the autumn internationals."

Wales are already without Rhys Priestland for the Six Nations and are also sweating over the fitness of Ashley Beck after the Ospreys centre limped off against the Dragons on New Year's Eve.