THE Dragons hope that Dan Lydiate will beat his projected six-week recovery to feature in the festive derbies after the Wales great played through the pain on his Rodney Parade return.

The 35-year-old blindside from Abbey-cwm-hir missed a reunion with the Ospreys on Saturday after suffering a rib injury against Leinster.

The Wales and Lions flanker was making his first Dragons appearance in a decade after returning to the club over the summer.

However, he suffered a rib injury in the loss that means he won’t be part of the touring party in South Africa for the fixtures against the Sharks and Lions.

Lydiate will instead target a return in the European Challenge Cup opener against Oyonnax in Newport that is followed by a trip to Pau, then the festive URC derbies with Cardiff and the Scarlets.

County Times: Dragons and Wales flanker Dan LydiateDragons and Wales flanker Dan Lydiate (Image: Press Association)

“Dan has fractured a rib and that is a six-week injury for a normal human being. I am sure he will be back quicker,” said head coach Dai Flanagan.

“He said that he did it early in the Leinster game and that he was pushing it in and it was popping out, while he also dislocated a finger and put it back in when he was running. I have never seen anything like it!”

The injury is a blow for the Dragons, who will also be without suspended Wales back row forward Taine Basham until Pau.

However, Harrison Keddie is set to make his return in South Africa after being out since suffering a concussion against Cardiff in round two.

Sean Lonsdale, Ollie Griffiths and Aaron Wainwright performed strongly as a trio against the Ospreys with Wales Under-20s captain Ryan Woodman coming off the bench.

Lydiate will stay in Wales to rehab his injury with a view to providing some trademark defensive steel over the coming months.

County Times: Dan Lydiate on the charge for the Ospreys against the Dragons last seasonDan Lydiate on the charge for the Ospreys against the Dragons last season (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“He was superb at the end of last season for the Ospreys against us. He looked like he has for Wales, like a player with a spring in their step and a new lease of life,” said Flanagan.

“His defence is unbelievable. The moment that sums Dan up was when we kicked off down the middle against Leinster and their number eight took a run up for him and he stood there, took it and went forward.

“He dislocated his finger in one of the tackles, put it back in and ran off. That shows the character of the person.”

The Dragons travel to South Africa on Tuesday and are set to reveal a touring party with their side to face the Sharks named at midday on Friday.

Wales lock Ben Carter is set to miss out after suffering a hamstring injury against the Ospreys.