WALES hopeful Taine Basham is now doing the dirty work to go along with his dynamism, believes his Dragons forwards coach.

The 21-year-old will line up at openside flanker against the Scarlets this evening (kick-off 5.15pm), presenting the chance to give national boss Wayne Pivac a nudge.

Basham was called into the Wales squad for the 2019 Six Nations and would have been a leading candidate for the summer tour were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the promising prospect has since dropped down the pecking order and saw fellow tyro James Botham picked this autumn, with the Cardiff Blues back rower winning caps against Georgia, England and Italy.

Basham made his debut in Llanelli in 2018 but it was last season that he really arrived on the scene, with Dragons forwards coach Luke Narraway believing he has suffered from no longer being the new kid on the block.

South Wales Argus:

“We’ve all been there,” said the former England back rower, who made his Gloucester debut at 19. “Taine's talent cannot be questioned. He is a very talented young man but he is exactly that, a young man.

“He burst onto the scene and in his second [full] season playing as a pro everybody knows his name and what he is capable of.

“There is a bit more pressure on him but I have been really impressed with Taine and the way that he has kept his head down.

“He knows that he has lots of work to do and that he is nowhere near the finished article – he has got masses of potential.

“Taine has almost made a rod for his own back by playing so well. People aren’t asking ‘who is this 19-year-old’, they are saying ‘watch out for Taine Basham’.

“That’s just the way it is and every player goes through that.”

Basham rose rapidly thanks to some stunning moments but Narraway believes his protégé is becoming more of an all-rounder, doing graft that goes under the radar.

South Wales Argus:

“Taine has just had to realise what his strengths are – and there are a lot – and what he needs to work on,” said the forwards coach.

“We are seeing huge improvements in his game that potentially not everybody else sees. He is continuing to get better week on week.

“We all know that he can carry, we all know that he has strength over the ball, we all know about his big moments but we are just talking to him about the nuts and bolts.

“In back-row play you pretty much need to be good at everything. You need a tight game and a loose game, you have to be able to play in the wide channels but also have to be able to defend a maul.

“With Taine’s talent he can definitely play in the wide channels and carry the ball but take the Cardiff game as an example, it doesn’t matter if he could carry in the wide channels because the ball was never going to get there.

“How can he affect a game? It could be decision-making for a jackal, whether to go in for a low tackle or to target the ball, his work rate on a kick chase.

“All of these little things can potentially go unseen but they are the nuts and bolts. They are things that he is continuing to get better at.”