WAYNE Pivac hailed Dan Lydiate as the form blindside flanker in the Guinness PRO14 after recalling the flanker nine years after he was Six Nations player of the tournament.

The 33-year-old won the last of his 64 caps against Australia in 2018 but has forced his way back into the fold with his destructive displays for the Ospreys.

The former Dragons captain was arguably in his pomp in the 2012 Six Nations when his defensive efforts and chop-tackling helped Wales to a Grand Slam.

Under-pressure boss Pivac is keen to lean on the Lions tourist's knowhow and physicality in the bid to improve on last year's fifth-placed finish.

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"We think he's the form six in the competition and has been throughout the season. He brings a lot of experience," Pivac said of Lydiate.

"We had a good look at some young players in the autumn and we know what they can do and what their work-ons are. Clear messages have been sent to those who missed out.

"But Dan brings a wealth of experience and I think he's back playing some of his best rugby. In the Six Nations, we're going to need a lot of that experience."

Cardiff Blues back rowers James Botham and Shane Lewis-Hughes both impressed after being handed international debuts but miss out.

Pivac has opted for current Dragons forward Aaron Wainwright, former Dragons Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric and the fit-again Josh Navidi and Josh MacLeod.

"They were in our discussions and both players have been spoken to," said Pivac about Botham and Lewis-Hughes.

"In terms of James, Josh Macleod was the original selection for the autumn campaign but got injured the day before against Glasgow.

"We feel he deserves an opportunity. Obviously James did well when he came in and has a big future, but at the moment we just think Josh is that little bit further ahead in his physicality and we're certainly going to need that.

"With Shane, that was another interesting discussion. I've spoken about the experience Dan brings and his form at the moment.

"There was a choice there between the experienced player in form and the younger man.

"In this particular competition and what we want to get out of it, we then looked at players who can play in multiple positions like Josh Navidi and Aaron Wainwright.

"In terms of the balance of the loose forwards, that's why we've gone that way."