THERE was a general air of disappointment around the Millennium Stadium on Saturday as Wales failed to record a convincing victory over a dogged Italy but Dan Lydiate was one man with a huge smile on his face.
The former Newport Gwent Dragons favourite is still on a high after the birth of his first daughter last Tuesday and he couldn’t hide his delight as he talked to the media after Saturday’s 23-15 win in the Six Nations opener.
Mum Nia and baby Lucy are doing well and Lydiate was delighted to have capped his perfect week with a hard-fought victory against the so-called tournament whipping boys.
“It’s been a pretty mental week to be honest,” said the 26-year-old Racing Metro flanker, whose family are back home in Paris.
“The main thing is that my little girl is OK and her mum as well and they’re both out of hospital now.
“Obviously we got a win as well so it’s gone down as one of the best weeks I’ve had, to be honest.
“I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get back over there,” he added. “I’m just going to rest and recover for now. “I’ve had a lot of travelling these last few weeks but we’ve got a day off in the week so I’ll hopefully get back to see them.
“I’ll let her do the midnight feeds for now though!”
Lydiate, who left the squad’s Vale of Glamorgan base on Tuesday to fly over the Channel to attend the birth, insists the week’s events haven’t affected his focus and he’s looking forward to next Saturday’s crucial clash with Ireland in Dublin.
“When you’re in the camp you’re professional and your head is on the game really,” he said.
“Between sessions your mind might be wandering but once you cross the white line it focuses your mind.
“We’ll have to be a lot better against Ireland, especially in their back yard,” he added.
“We lost to them here last year so we’ll have to take a close look at them and see how we can unlock them over there.
“It’s going to be a massive game for us but you go into each game feeling confident otherwise there’s no point going out there.
“There are a lot of boys there that we’re quite personal with (after the Lions) and with Racing now I’m close with Jonny Sexton and I’m sure there’ll be a few texts flying around this week and a bit of banter.
“The last three games have been real tough battles and I’m sure it’ll be the same again with a few key incidents influencing it either way.”