5:29pm Friday 11th October 2013
By Chris Kirwan
DAN Lydiate will have to wait a bit longer for another taste of Heineken Cup action after being left out of Racing Metro's side for their tournament opener against Clermont Auvergne.
The former Newport Gwent Dragons star has featured prominently for the Parisians since his summer move to the big-spending Top 14 outfit.
The chop-tackling blindside flanker has made five appearances in their back row this season but won't turn out at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir on Sunday evening (kick-off 8pm)
His last appearance in the Heineken Cup came at Rodney Parade on January 23, 2011 when the Dragons lost to Glasgow to suffer a whitewash.
Lydiate will hope to end that barren streak when his side head to Llanelli to take on the Scarlets next Saturday.
It's the fourth season on the spin that Racing have been in the elite competition but they are yet to make it to the knockout stages.
But expectations are high after owner Jacky Lorenzetti dug deep to not only entice Lydiate to an already stellar cast but his Lions teammates Jamie Roberts and Jonny Sexton.
"The message from the president is that he assembled a good squad here and we expect to perform and push forward in all competitions we are involved in," said Lydiate, who is joined on the sidelines by the injured Roberts.
But getting through Pool Four will be tough as they lock horns with last year's runners-up Clermont, who include Wales full-back Lee Byrne, Harlequins and the Scarlets.
One former Dragon that will be turning out for a big French side in Europe this weekend is Luke Charteris, who has been named among the Perpignan replacements for tomorrow evening's clash against Gloucester at Kingsholm.
The 30-year-old lock, who made 142 appearances over nine seasons at Rodney Parade, has not played since damaging ligaments in his right knee when playing for the Catalan giants against Montpellier last December. Fellow Wales international James Hook starts at full-back for Perpignan.
Warren Gatland has received a pre-autumn boost with the news that Ryan Jones will return for the Ospreys in their mouth-watering clash against Leinster tomorrow evening (kick-off 6pm).
The former Wales captain slots into the back row after a month out with a groin injury, adding yet more quality to a pack that includes British and Irish Lions Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric.
Wales centre Jonathan Davies captains the Scarlets when they take on Harlequins at the Stoop tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 3.40pm) while former Dragons Phil Dollman and Matt Jess will try and down Cardiff Blues with Exeter on Sunday (kick-off 12.45pm).
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