Dragons back row ace Taine Basham is determined to put his best foot forward for Wales – admitting all eyes are on the 2023 World Cup.
Basham, 21, enjoyed an eye-catching end to the season for Dean Ryan’s men and was rewarded when he was named in the Wales squad for the upcoming Summer Tests with Canada and Argentina (2).
The all-action back rower is eager to grab his first Test cap and earn a permanent position in Wayne Pivac’s squad.
“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 returned from a fractured arm to excel in the closing weeks of the season with boss Dean Ryan praising his balanced performances.
And the back row admits work put in on the training field with Ryan and Defence Coach Simon Cross has paid off.
“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,” said Basham.
“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 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.”
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It’s all about putting my hand up and trying my best to get on the trip in 2023...