DYNAMIC Dragons back row forward Taine Basham has earned the praise of Lions fly-half Dan Biggar for grasping a chance presented by Wales' injury misfortune.

The 21-year-old from Talywain will complete a clean sweep of autumn starts when he lines up at openside against Australia this evening (kick-off 5.30pm).

Basham was being used as an impact sub by the Dragons at the start of the season when backing up fellow internationals Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright and Ollie Griffiths.

He headed into Test camp off the back of magnificent performances as a starter against Connacht and the Stormers and has hit new heights in international rugby.

Basham has locked horns with New Zealand, world champions South Africa and Fiji, impressing with his energy and tenacity.

He might have been on a watching brief were Wales not without Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Moriarty and James Botham.

Instead Wayne Pivac's selection problems led to opportunities and the Dragons prospect has put himself in the Test mix halfway through the World Cup cycle.

South Wales Argus:

"It's definitely a different squad to what we've been used to over the past few years," said 93-times capped Biggar.

"Taine Basham has done very well, putting his hand up, especially coming in the most competitive position in the squad with the players you look at who are out injured. He's been excellent."

Pivac is without a host of big names but is able to rely on 32-year-old Biggar to help the inexperienced members of his squad.

The Northampton man made his Test debut 13 years ago against Canada and is enjoying a mentorship role.

"For me it's nice to be able to pass on because I always feel when I was a 19, 20-year-old coming through you were desperate for some support, help and sometimes a bit of motivation as well," he said.

"It's not all about putting arms around people and things, sometimes it's a bit of a kick up the backside and sometimes it's about getting guys fired up and getting boys used to what international rugby is all about.

"It's certainly not all fancy stuff and high points. It's about sometimes digging in and grinding through some tough times as well. It's part and parcel of becoming a senior player."

It has been a testing autumn for Wales' patched-up squad with a heavy loss to New Zealand, narrow loss to South Africa and then a spluttering performance in victory against Fiji.

"If you look at the way we went up against the world champions and what they did against Scotland a week later, I think we can be pretty pleased," said Biggar.

"We have to make sure we win on Saturday for it to be a decent autumn, otherwise it will be disappointing."