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The remarkable journey of Dan Lydiate

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When Dan Lydiate damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in Wales’ Six Nations opener against Ireland in February 2021 many feared the worst.

The Ospreys blindside was 33-years-old at the time and such a serious injury has ended the careers of many players. But Lydiate isn’t built like other men, and not for the first time in his career the man from Mid-Wales showed tremendous character and resolve to fight his way back on to the field of play. 

Lydiate was phenomenal in the first two Tests with his unrelenting work rate, brutal tackling, and all-round physicality playing a pivotal role in last Saturday’s victory over the world champions in Bloemfontein. 

And he revealed the feeling of sheer joy he felt at the final whistle as he reflected on all the sacrifices he has made to get back to this level. “If you could bottle that feeling and sell it you would not have to work again,” he said. 

“It is hard to put into words, until you are in that moment. It is not just that moment in time, it’s what you have worked for as a kid with all those sessions you have done that nobody has seen. 

“It’s every ounce of your being that you have put into your career and an instant reward as that final whistle goes. You can’t compare it to anything else.

“I am passionate about farming but it’s completely different. The only other thing you get that much emotion out of is family with your kids and your wife and things like that. 

“It is difficult to compare, apples and pears, but in the same breath it’s all intertwined because they sacrifice a lot for what you do as well.” 

Lydiate took a few minutes to reflect on all the hard work he put in to get his body back up to a level where it could cope with the intensity of international rugby.

He was also quick to praise a few of his Ospreys and Wales teammates, notably Dewi Lake, George North, and Gareth Anscombe who have also recovered from significant injuries to represent their country again. 

“It was nice on the weekend because we made sure we had a picture after the game because there were times when we were on crutches going into work in the mornings,” said Lydiate.  “It was a good vibe because we pushed each other, especially in the gym where we are all a similar strength, so there was a bit of competition. 

“We worked hard during those times when we were injured but enjoyed each other’s company which was perhaps more important to keep each other going.  Having banter and fun along the way is half the battle because a knee injury is a long process. 

“It can get boring and tedious because you have to do the same thing every day to build things back up.  Dewi was the first out of our trio to get back on the field and was called up to the Six Nations.

“That spurred us on to try and get back for Ospreys and here we are now. It’s been a tough road, I am not going to sugar coat it.

“It is not just the boys, it’s the medical and strength and conditioning staff at Ospreys.

 “It does hurt, I am not going to lie,” said Lydiate. “That is what I have been picked for years to try and be physical.  

 “It does take it out of you but if that’s what you are picked to do, that’s what I have to do. It’s all worth it. I have been sore for a few days after that Test last weekend but if we had lost, I would have been a lot more sore.”  

Source – Ospreys Rugby


URC

Vodacom URC and CVC shining a light on Community Upliftment Projects

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The Vodacom United Rugby Championship are launching the URC Unity Awards on Tuesday, to recognise the great work done by players and teams within their communities and for charitable causes.

Rugby World Cup final referee Nigel Owens will be part of the judging panel that will consider the candidates and come up with two worthy winners.

The Unity Awards, which are sponsored by the CVC Foundation, are associated with Vodacom URC’s Take on Tomorrow campaign, which looks to inspire change through the power of rugby and acknowledge the impact players and teams from the 16-side league make off the field.

The programme oversees projects aimed at engaging directly with communities across the five Vodacom URC territories – Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and South Africa.

To shine a light on the work players and teams are doing to uplift their communities and support their chosen charities, the Vodacom URC has now introduced the following Unity Awards.

  • The Difference Maker Award – presented to the player who has been recognised for outstanding commitment to a charitable or social cause.
  • The Community Impact Award – presented to the team whose community programme has been recognised for its impact in their region/province.

The winners of these awards will receive £5,000 from CVC Foundation to donate to their cause of choice (player) or to invest in their community programme (team).

As well as Nigel Owens, the independent judging panel is a dedicated group that also features Jane Howard, CSR Manager at CVC, Sports Broadcaster Emma Dodds and URC Head of Operations Amy Monaghan.

CVC CSR Manager Jane Howard said: “The CVC Foundation is delighted to be able to support the Vodacom United Rugby Championship in their efforts to shine a light on the incredible work the clubs and players are doing to make an impact in their communities.

“As a member on the Judging Panel, I have read through the submissions and have been so impressed by the incredible work being done. CVC applauds the Vodacom URC clubs and players in their efforts.”

The nominees for the awards will be announced on Tuesday, 6 December, with the winners to be revealed on Wednesday, 21 December. The award presentation to the winning club and player will then take place ahead of Christmas derby games in Round 10.

United Rugby Championship CEO Martin Anayi said: “We are acutely aware of the fantastic community programmes that our clubs have established locally and the deserving causes that our players contribute to as well. As a league, our mission is to celebrate and highlight their successes across our platforms so that our fans can appreciate their impact away from the pitch.”

About Take On Tomorrow

The Take on Tomorrow programme is inspired by the mission to celebrate the diversity and national cultures of the URC while using the league’s platform to champion for a healthier, stronger, unified next generation. 

The programme will advance and celebrate the power of URC rugby as a tool for social change by using our international platform to support the efforts of clubs, players, fans and leading charities as they change lives of young people across the five territories in which we play.

Content & Images from – Vodacom Bulls Rugby


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URC

Hooker Roberts joins tour in South Africa

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Wales international hooker Bradley Roberts has officially linked up with the Dragons RFC tour party in South Africa.

Roberts, who featured for Wales in the international Test with Georgia this autumn, flew out to link-up with the Men of Gwent on Monday.

Dragons have now travelled south as they prepare to face reigning champions the DHL Stormers in Round 9 of the BKT United Rugby Championship this Saturday afternoon (kick-off 12noon UK).

Head Coach Dai Flanagan said: “Bradley met up with the squad in Johannesburg and joined us on the flight to Port Elizabeth. He will be around the match day squad.

“It’s great to have him with us. The more quality players we can have around the group the better and we expect a few more to join us for the European game.

“Several boys were involved in three or four games for Wales so it’s important they get some down time.

“With the intensity of international rugby, we must manage them for the rest of the season.

“It’s the mental stress and expectation that takes it out of you so they will go away and take some time before they come back into the group in the coming weeks.”

Content & Images from – Dragons Rugby


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URC

Squad Update | Preparations Begin For Edinburgh Away

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The Munster squad started preparations at the HPC today ahead of Friday night’s URC round 9 game away to Edinburgh at the Dam Health Stadium.

Along with the 23-man squad involved in the win over Connacht, there were 10 Munster players in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.

Patrick Campbell, Conor Phillips, Eoin O’Connor, Dan Goggin and Fionn Gibbons featured for Young Munster in their win over Dublin University with Phillips scoring the match-winning try.

Ethan Coughlan and Kieran Ryan helped Shannon defeat UCD with Ryan touching down in the victory.

Jack Oliver was in action for Garryowen as they were defeated by Lansdowne.

In Division 1B, James French lined out for Highfield in their loss to Malone.

In Division 2A, Evan O’Connell was in action for UL Bohs as they were defeated by Blackrock College.

On the injury front, Mike Haley failed his HIA on Saturday night and will enter the graded return to play protocols.

Peter O’Mahony passed his HIA but was removed due to a facial/blood injury and will return to training this week.

Jack Crowley will go for a scan today for a lower leg/calf complaint.

Continuing to rehab: Conor Murray (groin), Stephen Archer (ankle), Tom Ahern (shoulder), RG Snyman (knee), Fineen Wycherley (shoulder), Paddy Kelly (head), Jack Daly (knee), Jack O’Sullivan (knee), Andrew Conway (knee), Keynan Knox (knee).

Tickets

Champions Cup Round 1

Sunday, December 11

Munster Rugby v Stade Toulousain, Thomond Park, 3.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 10

Monday, December 26

Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 12

Friday, January 6

Munster v Emirates Lions, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

Champions Cup Round 3

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 3.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 14

Friday, February 17, 2023

Munster Rugby v Ospreys, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 15

Friday, March 3, 2023

Munster Rugby v Scarlets, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 16

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Munster Rugby v Glasgow Warriors, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


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