ASHTON Hewitt's fast feet and pace have been clear since he first appeared on the wing at Rodney Parade, his resilience was clear when he bounced back from 16 months of injury torment and now we've all seen evidence of him being a leader.

The rapid back has grown into a key figure at the Dragons through the seasons and his leadership qualities earned the honour of captaining the region for the first time in November 2017 at the age of just 22.

Hewitt is an influence on the pitch and at the training ground, and recently the 25-year-old from Newport has shown mightily impressive leadership away from rugby.

He has used his platform as a Dragons player to highlight racial injustice, talk about his experiences as a young black man and stress the need for education on the matter.

READ MORE: Hewitt won't let racism slide

Articulate, passionate and measured despite the pain of the subject matter, it has an Argus star man display.

Hewitt and other professional sportsmen have offered thought-provoking words about systematic racism and our unconscious bias.

I would imagine plenty of us has since reflected on moments where we should have acted differently and that's what Hewitt wants – for us to think about racism, educate ourselves to have a greater understanding and then act accordingly.

This must not be limited to the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd protests, dissipating as has so often happened in the past.

South Wales Argus:

Hopefully Hewitt will keep being a driving force on the subject, and fingers crossed the winger will soon have some sort of rugby normality to offer a break from it.

By speaking out he has made himself a target for trolls and neanderthals, with social media an exhausting place at times.

Flicking through Twitter notifications must be a draining experience for Hewitt at times, that to go along with the stresses and strains that are testing all of us during the coronavirus crisis.

Thankfully, the Dragons players have light at the end of the tunnel with an August return pencilled in.

For Hewitt that presents the chance to keep chasing the dream of turning from 'Dragons wing' to 'Dragons and Wales wing'.

It's only through rotten luck that he doesn't already have a cap.

Concussion meant he had to withdraw from Wales' Six Nations squad in 2017 and then in the summer of 2018, with Warren Gatland guaranteeing every member of his touring party an international outing, he dislocated his right shoulder in a training collision with Dragons teammate Elliot Dee just days before flying out to America and Argentina.

In November he was a reserve for the uncapped fixture against the Barbarians at Principality Stadium and Wayne Pivac invited him to train with the squad during the Six Nations.

Hewitt is on the fringes and in selection conversations despite Wales having a glut of options in the back three – Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams, George North, Josh Adams, Johnny McNicholl, Jonah Holmes, Hallam Amos, Owen Lane, Steff Evans.

He's only 25 but the nature of being a winger is that there is always a bright young thing coming through; in international rugby that's Louis Rees-Zammit and at the Dragons it's Jared Rosser and Rio Dyer.

South Wales Argus:

Hewitt has the pace, elusive running and finishing ability. He has made strides in the aerial game and developed in defence with experience. Now he has shown impressive character.

He is putting ticks in the boxes but the key is to not chase it too hard.

It sounded trite when Holmes said in his first interview since swapping Leicester for the Dragons that his primary aim was to establish himself at Rodney Parade, but that's the way it's got to be.

Shine with club and the rest will come and for Hewitt the arrival of a Wales speedster - who he faced on his first Dragons start against Wasps in 2013 - presents the chance to make a statement.

He must combine with Holmes to great effect, and outshining him wouldn't do any harm.

Hewitt didn't speak out to raise his profile but his eloquence has undoubtedly led to more people knowing about him.

Pivac has been given a sign of the winger's character while rugby has been in lockdown and now the speedster can add to that when he returns to the pitch.

He will have well-wishers galore when he pulls on the 11 or 14 jersey at the Dragons in the coming months.

Fingers crossed that those who have read his words or seen his interviews without knowing much about Ashton Hewitt will get to see him at his elusive, seriously quick best.