DRAGONS and Wales back rower Taine Basham has ‘turned a corner’ and is ready to kick on amid crunch talks over a fresh contract, believes boss Dai Flanagan.

The 24-year-old from Talywain is back on club duty after a frustrating Six Nations in which his outing off the bench against England was his only appearance.

Basham was sent out for game time during the tournament and produced a lively display at Ulster when the Dragons battled for a four-try consolation bonus point.

The dynamic back rower will be to the fore when Flanagan’s side attempt to upset the odds against the Bulls in Newport on Saturday.

Basham hasn’t been at his very best since returning from the World Cup but he has been tipped to make a flying finish.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Dragons back rower Taine BashamINFLUENTIAL: Dragons back rower Taine Basham (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“His biggest strength is his carrying game – he is not massive but punches well above his weight with impact on the ball – and we continually work on refining the detail side of things with his work rate and how he affects the defensive contact area,” said Flanagan.

“That work is ongoing and he has come back superbly from the Six Nations – we are all sure that it will come good for him and he will be important for us in the run-in.

“Taine is a big player for us and I can see a little corner turned since just before he went away with how he is holding himself.

“He is a proud man and wouldn’t have been happy with his performances, hence what we saw in Ulster when he was superb in moments.

“Taine has got two games in seven days against the Bulls and Zebre and I am sure he will kick on and show everyone what he can do.”

The Dragons are reaching crunch time in talks with Basham, whose current deal expires at the end of the season.

South Wales Argus: TALENT: Dragons back rower Taine BashamTALENT: Dragons back rower Taine Basham (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

There have been reports of interest from English champions Saracens – which would mean putting his Test career on hold – and the Scarlets.

Nothing has been signed yet and the clock is ticking, with the Dragons keen to work out a deal that would see him stay like Wales teammates Aaron Wainwright and Rio Dyer.

“There is an intention from both parties to get it right,” said Flanagan. “Hopefully there will be news very soon on multiple things.

“A lot of business has been done, it’s just not been announced yet. There will be some news soon and there are some critical decisions still to make but we have a lot of stuff already done that we are proud of.”

The Dragons will operate with a salary cap of £4.5million next season for their playing budget, albeit with room for two marquee players on top of that.

That will lead to some departures, with the likes of Sio Tomkinson, Gonzalo Bertranou and Max Clark among those set to leave, while there will be a shake-up of the coaching team with a defence specialist arriving.