TAINE Basham says an early-season rollocking from Dragons 'headmaster' Dean Ryan sparked a stunning campaign that led to a Wales call-up.

The 20-year-old from Talywain was having a terrific season before coronavirus put rugby on hold.

The back row forward scored eight tries in 17 appearances and his dynamism for the Dragons caught the eye of the national coaches.

Basham got a taste of life in the Test camp in the preparations for November's uncapped Test against the Barbarians and was then brought in for the Six Nations.

The bright prospect has earned the praise of director of rugby Ryan – yet the Rodney Parade region's boss has ensured the youngster doesn't get too big for his boots.

South Wales Argus:

Basham was yellow-carded for an off-the-ball knee-drop on an Ulster opponent in a September Celtic Cup clash, that after he was sin-binned against the Scarlets for cumulative offences in the development competition.

Then in round two of the PRO14 he was shown yellow at the death in the win against Zebre in Parma, earning a ticking off from Ryan.

"I actually got pulled into see him and (rugby general manager) James Chapron at the start of the season. I would liken it to getting called into the headmaster's office," said Basham.

"It was after I'd got three yellow cards and they wanted to talk about my performances. It was probably the talk I needed at the time.

"He is looking to evolve the region and is big on giving youngsters the chance if they are good enough and have earned that opportunity.

"Dean can be brutally honest and that is a good thing. I like that direct approach and he has kept all our feet on the ground.

"When we talked at the start of the season we spoke about getting my game going, what I needed to improve. He said to me about not just being part of the journey, I needed to push on and put my hand up.

"Recently he spoke to me about being between camps, with Dragons and then Wales international set-up, and coming back into the PRO14 and making an impression. He understands and it's been great to work with him."

South Wales Argus:

Basham has been a firm fixture in the Dragons' back row despite the fierce competition for places.

After making five appearances in 2017/18 and nine the following campaign, he enjoyed 17 outings with just two of them off the bench.

"The season going so well for me was unexpected really, but it has been great," said Basham.

"It's all been a learning experience, getting called up by Wales was a huge positive and at Dragons we've showed we have a competitive side.

"I wanted to make a decent start to the season, particularly after a finger injury ended the previous year early.

"I ended up getting two yellow cards in the Celtic Cup, so it didn't all go to plan, before I got my first start away at Zebre. I kicked on from there.

"The Castres game was special. It was great to get a hat-trick in front of the home fans and Wales coaches. I didn't even know they were there.

"The European season has been good for us. We still hope to play a quarter-final with Bristol.

"The Cheetahs game is another that really stands out, when I felt I played okay in pretty horrible conditions."