Lydiate looking to shake off rust

Wales flanker Dan Lydiate is hoping to see the benefits of his first full pre-season in four years this weekend against Ireland.

The Ospreys blindside returns to international action as Wales look to bounce back from their loss to Ireland three weeks ago in Cardiff.

Head coach Warren Gatland has opted to use arguably his strongest available side as big guns like Lydiate, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar and Jamie Roberts all return.

George North will also win his 50th cap for his country and Lydiate expects things might be a little rusty at first given many of the players will be in their first match of pre-season.

"It is the first hit-out for a lot of us, but at the end of the day it's an international," said Lydiate.

"We are excited about going out there, but it's going to be a big challenge.

"We saw how well-drilled Ireland were in the first match earlier this month, and they've had a couple more weeks to prepare, so we are expecting a tough Test match. But it's brilliant preparation for the World Cup.

"It is quite strange because it's a pre-season game. Usually, you've had quite a few games before an international, but this is the first hit-up for a lot of the boys.

"Probably, there will be parts of the game where both sides are rusty, but hopefully it will be a good show and it will be a good Test match.

"Everyone needs game-time, but it's the same for both sides. We just have to hit the ground running. Preparation has gone well, so we will take confidence from that.

"This is the first proper pre-season I've had since the last World Cup, so hopefully the hard slog we've been through in training will pay off. All the hard work is in the bank.

"When (World Cup squad) selection comes around on Monday, we're all going to be biting our nails. But we have an opportunity to stake a claim this weekend, and that's what the boys will be trying to do."