Head Coach Ceri Jones has revealed young back row dynamo Taine Basham will remain with Dragons for the Guinness PRO14 clash with Benetton Rugby this Saturday in Italy (kick-off 1pm).
Basham has successfully featured for Wales Under-20s during the Six Nations campaign - grabbing an eye-catching hat-trick against Italy Under-20s earlier this month.
However, after appearing as a replacement in Edinburgh in the league last week – and with Nic Cudd ruled out for the rest of the season – Jones is eager to keep his young dynamic forward involved this weekend.
“We are retaining Taine this week. Obviously the Wales Under-20s have a big game against England coming up, but he is somebody who we think will be valuable for us,” said Jones.
“It is a very important game for us in the Guinness PRO14 and that takes precedent.
“Huw Taylor also comes into the mix and Lewis Evans can cover the back row. We have options across that area, we are fortunate and have some strength in depth and competition.
“We have all seen what Taine Basham can do,” added Jones. There is definitely something there.
“Maybe we could have potentially seen more from him last weekend, but that is the challenge to him. He is a young player so let’s see what he can do.”
Meanwhile, Jones has wished Cudd all the best with his recovery as he faces up to a long-term recovery from an ACL injury.
The back row faces surgery later this month before he targets a return to rugby next season.
“It’s such a nasty injury at this time of the year so we are all devastated for him,” said Jones.
“We will fully rehab Cuddy and the medical department will do a good job with him.
“It could be seven to nine months with this kind of injury. Cuddy has done this kind of injury before and come back stronger than ever.
“We all know what a good professional he is and what he has done for the region. He is one of the most committed players I’ve ever seen and I have nothing but respect for him. We wish him well with his recovery.”
CLICK HERE to secure your tickets for the Dragons final home game in Newport this season as Ulster come to Rodney Parade for the Guinness PRO14 clash on 3 March (ko 3pm).
We have all seen what Taine Basham can do... There is definitely something there. Maybe we could have potentially seen more from him last weekend, but that is the challenge to him...