Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate will be fit for the start of the new RaboDirect PRO12 season after it was determined he does not require surgery on a persistent ankle problem.
The 24-year-old was pencilled in for an operation as soon as he returned from Wales’ three-Test tour Down Under in June after a series of niggles sidelined him several times last season.
The Wales blindside, with 76 appearances for the Dragons to his name, faced a race against time to be fit for the start of the new campaign but now looks set to be available from the off.
Wales suffered a series whitewash in Australia but Lydiate still performed well in all three of their defeats despite having his ankle heavily strapped at times.
During the 2011 World Cup, Lydiate underwent intensive treatment on his ankle to be able to continue playing and missed the Six Nations opener with Ireland due to the problem.
He returned to play every minute of the rest of Wales’ Grand Slam-winning campaign and even secured the player of the tournament award.
Lydiate topped off his season by winning the Welsh Rugby Writers’ Player of the Year Award at a ceremony on Thursday.
The recognition was richly deserved – Lydiate made the most amount of tackles of any Wales player this season with 179 challenges and was the joint fourth highest appearance-maker with 16 outings.
However, Lydiate’s Wales team-mate and Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies will require an operation on his long-standing groin injury after he too delayed surgery to play in Australia, and will be out for up to five weeks.