Lydiate fit for Wales opener

  • Last Updated: June 11 2014, 16:21 BST

Dan Lydiate has declared himself fit and ready for Wales' first Test against South Africa.

Lydiate: Fit for opener against the Springboks
Lydiate: Fit for opener against the Springboks

The Racing Metro flanker captained the tourists to a 34-12 win over the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday night.

It was the 26-year-old's first game in five weeks after suffering a hamstring injury, but he suffered no ill-effects and put in a handful of his trademark 'chop' tackles in a typically robust defensive performance.

Head coach Warren Gatland had made it clear Lydiate had to prove his form and fitness against the Kings to be considered for Saturday's Durban showdown.

The former Newport Gwent Dragons man was happy with his night's work, but now faces an anxious wait ahead of Thursday's team announcement.

He said: "It was a really good hit-up. I think it got better as the game went on.

"There was about 40 minutes of ball in play time, so it was a good blow out for me. The boys really had a good workout.

"I was really pleased captaining the side for the first time and I was happy with how it went, getting the result."

Gatland's back-row selection is likely to provide plenty of interest with Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric injured and no specialist seven taking their place on tour.

Aaron Shingler is the favourite to wear the number seven shirt, with Josh Turnbull also in contention.

The New Zealander must also decide whether to go with Gethin Jenkins or Paul James at loosehead prop, given the former's torrid experience at the hands of first Test referee Romain Poite, when Wales were beaten by England at Twickenham in the RBS 6 Nations.

There are also decisions to be made over the bench, after exciting young talents such as number eight Dan Baker, wing Jordan Williams and full-back Matthew Morgan impressed against the Kings.

Just a fortnight ago Morgan appeared to have no chance of being on this trip - in fact he was expecting to be in Las Vegas on holiday with a group of friends - but an exhilarating cameo in the trial match convinced Gatland to give him a chance.

The Bristol-bound fly-half-cum-full-back picked up where he had left off at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and his spark would be a welcome asset to bring off the bench in the frantic final quarter of a full-on Test.

But Morgan is not daring to dream of a place in the 23, insisting if he does not play another minute on tour he will still have had an experience to savour.

"To be honest, for now I am just happy to have played in the trial and to have played in this game against the Kings," he said.

"Hopefully I have put my hand up for some sort of involvement on the bench. But whatever will be, will be. If I get picked, I get picked. If I don't, I don't. I am just happy to be a part of this tour.

"It is brilliant. I had a tear in my eye when we were running out. It is every little boy's dream to pull that Welsh jersey on and to do it is just the most amazing feeling.

"I could never have hoped to be here. My family are here to see me and all my mates have been texting me their support. It sounds like they are having one hell of a holiday but they are really pleased for me."

Watch South Africa take on Wales at the Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban, live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30pm this Saturday