Updated: Friday, 31 January 2014 02:40 | By Agence France-Presse

'Surreal' new father Lydiate back with Wales

Dan Lydiate returned to training camp following the birth of his daughter this week, with the Wales flanker all set to play for the champions in their Six Nations opener against Italy on Saturday.

'Surreal' new father Lydiate back with Wales

Wales' Dan Lydiate attends a team training session in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup at the Porirua sports ground in Wellington on September 7, 2011 - by Peter Parks

The British and Irish Lions back-row was named Tuesday in Wales coach Warren Gatland's starting side for the match against the Azzurri at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

But the 26-year-old, who plays club rugby for Paris-based Racing Metro, was then given special dispensation to fly to France to be present at the birth.

"It's a bit surreal at the moment but I'm obviously over the moon and just chuffed to bits,” said Lydiate in a Welsh Rugby Union statement.

"Her name's Lucy. She's a tiny little thing but mother and baby are doing really well and I'm just really happy.

"With all the coaches and players, Warren has always said that family comes first and when I told him about the situation he was more than happy for me to go over and be with her for the birth.

"I can't thank him enough and it makes you appreciate the environment we've got here and how close everyone is. I came back here yesterday and coming back into the environment, everyone is shaking your hand and it's almost like a second family.

"Everyone has congratulated me, there's been a few hugs but when you get into training you have to switch on.

"In between sessions you're talking about it but when you're doing your analysis and when training is taking place, you're fully focused on the weekend and we're really looking forward to that challenge.

"There's no better start than playing your first Six Nations game at home. The Italians will be tough opposition but we have to go into it full of confidence and we're really looking forward to the game."

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