DRAGONS back rower Taine Basham has “come on leaps and bounds” to announce himself on the Test stage this autumn, believes Wales centre Nick Tompkins.

The duo were teammates at Rodney Parade last season when Tompkins was on loan from Saracens.

Tompkins got to witness first hand the dynamic back row forward’s potential in club rugby and has played alongside the 22-year-old from Talywain on the Test stage.

Basham made his debut off the bench three times in the summer but has had to step up a level this autumn with starts against New Zealand, world champions South Africa and Fiji.

The Dragons man will hope to finish strongly against Australia on Saturday evening to stake a claim for the Six Nations.

Tompkins believes that Basham’s displays mean he is no longer just one to look out for in the future.

South Wales Argus: TALENT: Dragons and Wales forward Taine BashamTALENT: Dragons and Wales forward Taine Basham

“I have been hugely impressed, he is one of the players who has come on leaps and bounds,” said the Saracens man, who made 14 appearances for the Dragons.

“I obviously knew that he was pretty decent and that he was an unbelievably good raw talent.

“He would always go to the ball and was always pretty effective but this time around he has just sharpened everything up.

“He is a lot more disciplined and his ball carrying is fantastic - he is coming onto it every time and his energy is brilliant. Taine is probably the one player who has impressed me the most, actually.”

Tompkins ended his loan spell at the Dragons early to help Sarries earn a swift promotion to the Premiership after their relegation for salary cap offences.

The 26-year-old has started the 2021/22 campaign strongly for the former European champions.

South Wales Argus: Nick Tompkins carrying hard against South AfricaNick Tompkins carrying hard against South Africa

“I grew up at Saracens so I know the system very well,” said Tompkins.

"The loan deal was brilliant for me but being able to go back as well and be with people I have grown up with is fantastic.

"I have been able to enjoy a good amount of playing time beforehand coming into these autumn internationals and the team have been doing well.

"It's worked wonders for me, I have come into these autumn internationals with a lot of minutes. I am pretty happy with my form and just trying to carry it on and bring whatever I can for the team. It has been a good transition so far.”

Tompkins has won 14 caps, well short of the 60 needed to keep playing in England under the Welsh Rugby Union selection policy, but doesn’t have a decision on his club future looming as he has a long-term contract at Sarries.

"I won't have to think about it for the moment. I wanted to take that problem out of the equation and focus on myself and the rugby and be pretty settled,” he said.

“You never know what the future is going to hold but it is fairly long-term and I am with Saracens for a good amount of time.”