Get to know the highly-rated loose forward who is also adept at DIY

Wales U20 and Dragons back-row Taine Basham

Date of birth 2 November 1999 Born Abergavenny Region Dragons Country Wales Position Back-row

When did you first play rugby?

From ten at Talywain Juniors, my local club. It was always rugby for me; I never had any interest in other sports.

Have you always played in the back row?

I started off in the centres, then moved to the back row. I like being more involved in the game.

What are your strengths?

Probably attacking. Having played centre, I like to get the ball in my hands.

And work-ons?

As I always played No 8 my main attributes are in attack, so I’m working hard on my defence. I want to be a good jackler, more of an all-round player, so I can play across the back row.

Who was your childhood hero?

I didn’t watch a lot of rugby growing up, I just played it. My dad, David, used to coach me and he played for Cross Keys and Pontypool before the regional structure, so I always looked up to him. He’s had a big involvement in my career.

When did you link up with Dragons?

At 15. It’s normally 16 but as there wasn’t a team my age where I’m from, I played up a year all the way through. I’d train with the Dragons twice a week, with a game usually on a Wednesday, and then I joined the academy full-time aged 17.

How have you found Dean Ryan?

He’s a great coach with lots of experience. He wants to make the region better and is pushing the boys to make it better.

You were in the Wales squad for the Baa-Baas match…

A highlight in my career so far. To have a taste of the international environment and sit down with Sam Warburton to look through my game… I was like a sponge and it was a great achievement for me. Now I want to see how far I can go.

What do you do away from rugby?

When I left school I did a course in plastering and bricklaying. Then last July I bought my first house, completely gutted it and I’m now redoing it all.

RW VERDICT: Basham says he wants “to get better every day” and he’s already caught the eye of new Wales coach Wayne Pivac. If he continues to stand out for Dragons, he will soon add Test caps to his age-grade honours for Wales.

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Rugby World magazine.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.