DRAGONS star Taine Basham is eager to impress Wales coach Wayne Pivac this summer so he can earn a permanent place in the New Zealander’s squad.

The 21-year-old back-rower is set to win his first cap against Canada at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium after being named on the bench.

He has been considered one of Welsh rugby’s brightest prospects for some time now, but a broken arm in January stunted his progress.

However, he impressed in the Rainbow Cup, and is determined to force his way into Pivac’s plans for the 2023 World Cup.

“Everything is about building towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France,” said Basham.

“Wayne mentioned that he’s used over 50-odd players so far so that he can have a look at them.

“It’s all about putting my hand up and trying my best to get on the trip in 2023.

“Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench I need to make an impact, put my best foot forward, and put my hand up.

“The arm injury was a bit of a setback and then the boys at the Dragons, who also have a very competitive back-row, played well.

“I had to find a way to get back to form and hit top gear when I was back.

“Towards the end of the season with the Rainbow Cup that was a great opportunity for me to get some game time and get back into it.”

Basham’s destructive ball carrying and slick handling have always been mainstays of his game.

But more recently he has become a greater threat at the breakdown, impressing Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan.

“I want to get my hands on the ball a lot so I can carry and get over the gain line for the team and put my best foot forward for the boys,” he added.

“It’s been about focusing on the fundamentals of the game like the set-piece, my defence, and the contact area.

“It’s also been about improving those areas for me and those are areas which may differentiate you from other people. It’s about having a good all-round game which allows you to play well.

“Simon Cross, the Dragons defence coach, has also really helped me a lot throughout the season with the breakdown and how to analyse a game.

“With Dean at the Dragons it’s all about the fundamentals of rugby, defence and attack, and collisions. He’s kept things simple, and I’ve really benefitted from that.”