TOM Prydie harbours hopes of a return to the Wales fold but first the speedster wants to win the scrap for a start at Newport Gwent Dragons.
The 20-year-old from Porthcawl made the move east from the Ospreys this summer, signed primarily as a full-back who can cover on the wing.
It is a significant capture for head coach Darren Edwards. He tried to sign Prydie on loan last season, only for the deal to
hit the buffers and for the youngster, who he coached at Wales age-grade level, to head to Wasps instead.
But the Dragons have now got their man and plenty is expected of him, especially after he played a starring role for Wales Under-20s in the Junior World Championship.
The return to the regional scene of Prydie will be a prominent storyline of the season.
After a rapid rise that saw him earn four caps, becoming Wales’ youngest player and youngest try scorer, there will be plenty of attention on his attempt to get back on track after finding chances
hard to come by with the Ospreys.
Not that earning cap number five is on his mind just yet.
“It was a massive honour to play for Wales and every player wants to play international rugby, but I know that I need to focus on the short term,” said Prydie.
“Nobody here gets carried away, you just need to look at Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau to see that.
“It has to be like that and my mind is totally on the Dragons. I’m making a new start here and I want to impress.
“I’m really enjoying it here and looking forward to a new challenge. I want to be playing regular rugby but I know that won’t be easy because there is competition here.
“Full-back is my preferred position but there are plenty of players that will be going for that spot and the same goes for the wing.
“There’s a great spirit here and the boys that have been here a while are saying it’s been their toughest pre-season. We can’t wait to start now.”
Prydie’s exploits with the under-20s in South Africa highlighted a part of his game that had previously been overshadowed by his pace and running in broken play.
His goalkicking helped Wales record a historic win against New Zealand and led to his finishing the tournament as top scorer with 61 points.
It capped a memorable month, one that he expects will lead to plenty of his teammates shining in the RaboDirect Pro12.
“It was a great experience out in South Africa,” he said. “We played really well, enjoyed every minute and became a really close squad.
“Plenty of the boys showed what they can do and and will be wanting a chance to take that form into the new season with the regions. I think we have all put our hands up for selection, which I
suppose is what that tournament is about.”