DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan believes bright prospect Taine Basham is showing that age is no barrier by looking at home when sharing the field with Test big beasts.

The 20-year-old back rower from Talywain was named as official man of the match for his all-action display in the 16-12 Boxing Day defeat at Cardiff Blues.

Basham took his personal try tally for the season to a remarkable eight when he was at the bottom of a driving lineout in the first half.

He then provided the assist for Matthew Screech's try when he intercepted Wales number eight Josh Navidi's pass and ran from his own half to within five metres of the line.

READ MORE: The talking points from the Arms Park

The flanker has taken his opportunity in the absence of the injured Ollie Griffiths and joined forces with Wales back rowers Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty in the capital.

They were up against an impressive Blues trio of Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson and Navidi, yet it was Basham who was picked out as star man.

Director of rugby Ryan praised his young prospect, who has played in 12 of 13 fixtures this season, for getting the nuts and bolts right as well as the eye-catching events.

South Wales Argus:

"As I've said numerous times, he's got moments which are right up there. In games like against Cardiff Blues, it's about doing his basics at that level of the company he is against," said Ryan.

"You've got to recognise that he is a good player now and it doesn't matter about his age or experience.

"If he can play alongside Aaron and Ross and if he can play against the likes of the players he was up against on Boxing Day and be recognised (for his performance) then he is a good player. Doing it regularly now is his challenge and he is rising to that."

Basham got the seal of approval from World Cup star Navidi, who made his return from the hamstring injury suffered in the quarter-final win against France.

Navidi said: "He played very well, he was over the ball a lot and caused us problems... and had one good read on the ball out the back!

"He deserved man of the match and is a good prospect for the Dragons. They have a good bunch of back rowers down there, and are a young bunch of boys, so I'm sure Dean Ryan is happy."

South Wales Argus:

Basham received his first Wales call-up when Wayne Pivac brought him in ahead of the uncapped fixture against the Barbarians.

He will be a long shot for the Six Nations given the other options but Navidi is relishing having another name in the mix.

"It's always the same with Christmas derbies, playing against boys in the same position with people wanting to stake a claim," said the Blues captain. "It's enjoyable and makes the boys play harder."

Basham believed the battling display at the Arms Park bodes well for the Dragons return to Newport to face the Ospreys next Saturday.

"We're working hard every week to improve this region and we leave Cardiff with our heads held high," he said to S4C.

"We can be proud with the performance and the result on a different day could have gone our way.

"It's now about next week and the Ospreys back on our home patch and we want to keep the winning momentum going at Rodney Parade."

The Dragons will monitor Moriarty when they return to training on Monday after he was forced from the field early in the second half.

The Wales star appeared to be holding his right knee after a bang on the final play of the first half but director of rugby Ryan said after the game that it was a tight calf that forced him off on his first regional start of the season.