DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman believes bright prospect Taine Basham will benefit from pushing himself to dark places with Wales Sevens.

The 19-year-old from Talywain will make his bow in the World Rugby Sevens Series at the tournament opener in Dubai this weekend before the action moves to South Africa.

Back row forward Basham has been selected alongside Dragons teammate Will Talbot-Davies, a regular in the shortened format last season, with head coach Jackman happy to play the long game by releasing two players who featured in his Guinness PRO14 matchday squads at the start of the month.

"Taine has a busy schedule with Wales Under-20s and regional rugby, but this as an opportunity for him to experience a couple of legs," said Jackman, who fielded the teenage back rower off the bench against Ulster and at number eight at Connacht.

"Taine could have been in our squad for Edinburgh but we had Ollie Griffiths, Nic Cudd, Harrison Keddie and James Benjamin.

"You have got to try and do the right thing by the individual to make him the best player he can be for the Dragons and hopefully Wales.

"The big crowds at Dubai and Cape Town will be phenomenal for Taine and it will get him used to play, rest, play, rest, play – it's incredibly intense.

"Sevens makes players understand their body and recovery. Mentally it is very hard and makes you go deeper – high-class sevens games can put you in a bad place and that will be good for him.

"In terms of skill set, Taine is very talented – he's like James Benjamin.

I believe that in two years he will be in the regional side, so won't get this sevens opportunity. I'd love him to have an exposure to it and it's the right thing to get him in there early, whereas other players have the chance to go at 21."

While Basham is making his bow on the sevens circuit, Talbot-Davies is one of the more experienced heads in Richie Pugh's squad.

The 21-year-old from Solihull was a regular in last year's series and represented Wales at the World Cup in Los Angeles in July

He returned to the Dragons to play in six fixtures but Jackman hopes another spell in sevens will aid the full-back's progress.

"The sevens was really good for him last year," said Jackman. "Will is a very mature, focused individual. He has that in his character anyway but certainly that exposure to big atmosphere environments has made him much more comfortable when he plays for us.

"We like him as a 15s player but what is changing in Welsh rugby is that there is a hell of a lot more cooperation and thought process behind sevens.

"It's a way of developing players who can play regional rugby – we will only put people into 7s who we believe can do that."

Dragons wing/full-back Joe Goodchild is travelling reserve for the Dubai leg.

l Wales Women Sevens head coach Jonathan Hooper is looking forward to challenging a young Development Squad at the Dubai Invitation Tournament this week.

Only Lucy Packer, Jodie Evans and Angharad De Smet have experience of playing international sevens but Hooper is pleased with the skill levels and commitment shown in training.

"This tournament is an invaluable opportunity for this new group of exciting young players to test themselves," he said.

"There are no easy games in the heat of the Dubai 7s so I'm really looking forward to seeing how the squad adapt to a tough day one and rise to the challenges that lay ahead on day two."

Wales open against South Africa on Thursday morning followed by clashes against teams from Kazakhstan and Japan and Hooper is relishing the challenge.

Wales Women Development Squad: Angharad De Smet (Cardiff Blues), Awen Prysor (Scarlets), Caitlin Lewis (Scarlets), Emma Hennessy (RGC), Hannah Bluck (Dragons), Jodie Evans (Scarlets), Lleucu George (Scarlets), Lucy Packer (Scarlets), Masie MacKenzie (Scarlets), Megan Webb (Blues), Molly Philpott (Blues), Nia Gwyther (Scarlets)