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Wales flanker Dan Lydiate still hurting from Six Nations defeat to England

Dan Lydiate has admitted that Wales still feel the pain of their Six Nations no-show against England that arguably cost them this season's title.

Lydiate and company return to Twickenham on Sunday for another appointment with their fierce rivals.

This time, there will be no Six Nations points at stake, just important preparation before Wales head off on a demanding three-Test mission against the world champion All Blacks in New Zealand and England face Australia in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

But that does not mean Wales have forgotten events of 10 weeks ago, when they arrived at Twickenham unbeaten in the tournament and full of expectation.

England, though, had other ideas, building up leads of 16-0, 19-0 and 25-7 before late converted tries from George North and Taulupe Faletau threatened a spectacular Wales revival after they had been outplayed for so long.

England ultimately held on for a four-point success, with Wales left to reflect on what might have been.

"The first half of that Six Nations game is still hurting," 56 times-capped flanker Lydiate said.

"We've got a chance now to play against the Grand Slam-winning side, and the boys are really looking forward to it.

"We are still scratching our heads now about the first-half.

"It was tough watching it back, and nobody wants to feel like we did after that game again. We've just got to make sure our preparation is right and we fly into the game.

"All credit to England, they flew into us and we were found wanting. We weren't at the races at all.

"It's always a big challenge going there, but one that you relish. We are looking forward to this weekend to hopefully start the tour off on a strong foot.

"Both sides will get a lot out of having a big hit before going out on our tours.

"You always rub your hands together when you get the chance to play England, and hopefully it will serve both teams well to have a really good blow-out and get back to that international intensity before we go Down Under."

Wales are set to be without skipper Sam Warburton this weekend while he continues his recovery from a shoulder injury - he is on course for the June 11 first Test against New Zealand in Auckland - but lock Alun Wyn Jones could make his comeback after overcoming a long-standing foot problem.

Jones, who will win his 99th cap if he is involved on Sunday, has not played since the Twickenham Six Nations defeat.

"We went pretty full-on in training on Tuesday morning, and he was champing at the bit and really throwing himself in there. He looks pretty good," Lydiate added.

"You miss him bossing everyone around because he is the yardstick. It's good to have him back.

"He is a machine and plays week in, week out. That was probably his downfall going into the Six Nations, because he never pulls out of a session. He will just keep going.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve and he will never take a step back. He will always get up and give you more, even if he has got nothing left.

"There has been a lot of rugby played this season, but you just focus on the next challenge. This (England) game has soon crept up on us, and on Monday we will be flying out to New Zealand.

"We have a massive game ahead of us this weekend that will hopefully put us in good stead to head to New Zealand with confidence."


From Belfast Telegraph