A GRIM, grey, drizzly afternoon in Barnet wasn't one that many will remember fondly but teenage speedster Rio Dyer will never forget it.

After being a travelling reserve on a couple of occasions last year, the 18-year-old from Rogerstone made his debut in professional rugby after starting on the Dragons wing at Saracens in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last Saturday.

Not even a 40-21 defeat could stop it being a superb start to a year that Dyer hopes will feature Wales caps at the Under-20s Six Nations, then perhaps the World Rugby U20 Championship.

“It wasn’t the result that we wanted but it was a good experience,” said the speedster, who made five appearances for the Dragons Premiership Select XV in the British & Irish Cup.

“It was nerve-racking to go up against a big side like Saracens but it wasn’t too bad once I got playing and got into the flow.

“I felt comfortable and it was a good experience – the game is quick [at regional level] but I enjoy that as a winger.

“I think it went alright and it’s a learning process to improve me as a player, it was good to be around players like Zane Kirchner.

“A few of us youngsters have had a chance this season and I was happy to have it against a good team like Saracens to test myself and see where I am at.”

While other Dragons players spent Sunday licking their wounds, Dyer headed to Wales Under-20s camp for the preparations for Friday’s opener against Scotland along with his regional teammates Josh Reynolds, Will Griffiths, Taine Basham, Lennon Greggains, Max Williams, Dan Babos and Joe Goodchild.

The winger, who went to Bassaleg School and played for Pill Harriers and Newport High School Old Boys, would love to force his way into the matchday squad.

“I am still eligible for the Under-18s so I was chuffed to get the call-up,” he said. “I am hoping to win as many caps as possible, I am enjoying it.”

And his aim is to provide Dragons boss Bernard Jackman and Wales Under-20s coach Jason Strange with pure pace out wide with the former 100m and 200m athlete having taken inspiration from a legendary Springbok.

He said: “I’d say I’m an energetic winger – I just try to get my hands on the ball and run into the space basically!

“I used to like Bryan Habana because he was known as the quickest man in rugby and I wanted to be the quickest kid on the pitch.”

The quickest kid is now playing with the big boys.