AFTER FIVE seasons with Newport Gwent Dragons, wing Matthew Pewtner is finally in his stride.
It has been a stop-start career for the 22-year-old from Blackwood since he made his regional debut against Sale Sharks in November 2009.
At 6ft 3ins and with a neat turn of pace, Pewtner has long had the tools to be a success but has always been a fringe player.
He had never played more than four Dragons games in a season and had played successive fixtures just once – the dead rubber LV= Cup clashes with the Ospreys and London Welsh at the start of 2013.
But Pewtner has enjoyed an upturn in fortunes this season.
He has made six appearances, started the last four, scored his first two tries in regional rugby and done well when locking horns with some of the RaboDirect Pro12's most potent runners.
"This season has been pretty good for me so far," he said. "I've made six starts and want to keep building.
"I've had a couple of games on the bounce and I've been waiting for that for a few years so that I can get some continuity.
"I've been up against (Munster's) Simon Zebo, (Edinburgh's) Tim Visser, (the Scarlets') Jordan Williams and I am quite happy with how things have gone, hopefully more challenges will come my way.
"I want to cut the errors out of my game and concentrate on the things that I can do well, like beating players and putting in big tackles to try and get the boys going... and scoring more tries would be nice."
Pewtner was the only player to cross the whitewash in last weekend's 18-14 defeat to Pro12 leaders Munster, racing over from Netani Talei's superb pass.
The Dragons' attack hasn't dazzled yet this season after new boss Lyn Jones understandably concentrated his pre-season efforts on their leaky defence.
But the former Wales sevens winger believes there are signs of progress ahead of Friday's Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Bordeaux Begles at Rodney Parade (kick-off 7.15pm).
"The coaches inspire confidence in all of us and bring the best out of a lot of players," said history graduate Pewtner, who is studying to become a teacher.
"The fans are seeing it on the field – a lot of players are performing a lot better individually and as a team we are growing and growing.
"We are playing more expansive rugby every week and against Munster (fellow wing) Will Harries had a couple of runs and was unlucky.
"Hopefully as wingers we can keep getting our hands on the ball, it's good to offer ourselves as runners off our scrum-halves and add a different dimension to the attack and we've had some good gains from that.
"Everything starts with defence – if that's solid then you can build from there – but our attack has come on and is growing with every game."