Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate maintains he has no intention of joining the Welsh exodus to France declaring ‘I love being at the Dragons’.
Lydiate’s fellow internationals Mike Phillips, Lee Byrne, James Hook, Luke Charteris and Gethin Jenkins have all moved to France in the last two seasons and there would be no shortage of interest in Lydiate should he choose to leave the RaboDirect PRO12.
While the 24-year-old sympathises with those who have made the cross-channel switch he has no intention of swelling the Welsh exiles.
The Dragons stuck by Lydiate when he was recuperating from a broken neck and the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Player of the Tournament has every intention of repaying the favour declaring the treatment he receives from Rodney Parade outweighs the money on offer elsewhere.
“For the time being I'm happy here,” he said. “I love playing with Wales and love being at the Dragons. I can't thank the Dragons enough especially in the early days of my career.
“They gave me a chance to play top-flight rugby and give me the chance to put myself on show to the Welsh selectors.
“Maybe if I had have been at other clubs I might not be playing international rugby. I can't thank them enough.
“I’m treated really well at the Dragons, whereas maybe if you went abroad you are just a lump of meat.
“We play hard but the Dragons know when you have your bumps and bruises, so if you have to miss a session they don't mind, as long as you put it in on the field. [But at a foreign club] it doesn't matter if you have bumps and bruises.
“They do pay handsomely, but they pay that well you have got to play. I can see why some of the boys have gone out to France, some of the older boys [for] a different life experience. They might not get that chance again.”
Lydiate played all three of Wales’ summer Tests against Australia despite carrying an ankle injury.
But the 27-times capped flanker confirmed he does not need surgery on the ankle and is confident of hitting the RaboDirect PRO12 season running with the Dragons.
“I was glad I didn’t have to have an ankle operation at the end of the season. [I've] come back from Australia, seen the surgeon and he said that if it doesn't hurt there is no point [in having an operation].
“Touch wood, it seems fine in pre-season and hopefully it will give me no jip going forward.”