THE Dragons are pulling out all the stops to agree a new deal Taine Basham after the Wales flanker was linked with a move to England.

The Rodney Parade club are in talks with the 24-year-old from Talywain about extending his contract, which runs out this summer.

Money is tight in Welsh professional rugby – clubs will operate with a £4.5million salary cap next season – but the Dragons have prioritised deals with their homegrown World Cup stars Aaron Wainwright, Rio Dyer and Basham.

They are also keen to keep tighthead Leon Brown, who has been linked with Bristol, although a deal would need to represent value given his fitness problems in recent years.

Number eight Wainwright would be free to continue playing Test rugby if he moved to a club outside of Wales as he has 43 caps.

The Dragons are aided by wing Dyer and openside/number eight Basham having 14 and 16 caps respectively – if they move to England then they would be ineligible for Warren Gatland’s side.

South Wales Argus: Dragons and Wales back row forward Taine BashamDragons and Wales back row forward Taine Basham (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Basham signed his last deal in November 2021 after talks started before he enjoyed a breakthrough autumn campaign with Wales.

The Daily Mail reports that the combative back rower is of interest to English Premiership clubs Saracens, Sale and Northampton.

A Welsh rival is also sniffing around, which would raise the prospect of Basham being able to continue his Test career.

However, the Dragons are desperate to keep the dynamic carrier and believe there is plenty more to come from him.

Basham has endured a tricky time since returning from the World Cup after being given a four-match ban for being sent off against Leinster for a late hit on Irish fly-half Ross Byrne with his elbow.

He returned in the narrow Challenge Cup loss at Pau but was dropped along with Wales hooker Bradley Roberts after an under-par performance in the Boxing Day defeat at Cardiff.

Basham watched on as the Dragons beat the Scarlets on New Year’s Day when head coach Dai Flanagan fielded Dan Lydiate, Harri Keddie and Wainwright with Ollie Griffiths making an impact off the bench.

South Wales Argus: Dragons forward Taine Basham on World Cup duty with WalesDragons forward Taine Basham on World Cup duty with Wales (Image: Press Association)

Nonetheless, the Talywain man is a stellar talent on his day and is sure to return to the matchday squad soon.

Basham made his Dragons debut aged 18 at the Scarlets in January 2018 and has made 84 appearances for the club.

Flanagan said last week that he was hopeful of fresh deals with leading figures, which will shape the rest of his retention.

“There are certain players that we are a long way down the road with,” he said.

“We will know pretty soon either way and as a region we want to get decisions done pretty quickly, and I am sure the players do as well.”

There are, however, tough decisions to be made with the Dragons likely to lean more heavily on the young talent coming through as they cut costs for next season.