TALENTED teenage back rower Taine Basham has poured cold water on speculation of a move to England, insisting the Dragons is the best place for him to learn.

It has been reported that European and English champions Saracens are among the clubs over the bridge that keeping tabs on the Wales Under-20s international.

However, the 19-year-old from Talywain is happy at Rodney Parade after pushing his way into the senior side last season when he made nine appearances.

Basham has a year left to run on his current contract and talks are ongoing about a fresh deal.

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"I know this is the best environment for me to be in," said Basham, who features across the back row. "If I was at other clubs I don't know what game time I would have had.

"I'm pleased with how it's all gone. I'm a Gwent boy who is playing in Gwent so I am very happy here.

"We've got internationals like Aaron (Wainwright) and Ross (Moriarty) and then top players like (Harrison) Keddie and Ollie (Griffiths). Just to learn off them, to be around them day-to-day, is huge.

"They have more experience than me so you're always looking to learn off them. Then hopefully you can get a playing shirt alongside them."


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Basham was given his regional debut by Bernard Jackman in January, 2018 and went on to make four more cameos but last season he was a more prominent figure in the fierce battle for back row spots.

"Last season was really good - if you get game time you've got to love it," said Basham.

"Towards the end of the season, particularly in South Africa and Judgement Day, I really enjoyed my rugby with the Dragons.

"I got my first start of the season away at Connacht and scored a try in the last minute, so you would have thought I'd have been happy, but I was so sick.

"There was a bug going around camp and it was savage. I didn't feel right, at half-time I felt pretty ropey, but you've just got to get your head down and do your best."

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Basham suffered injury frustration over the summer when a hand injury suffered in warm-up game for the World Rugby U20 Championship meant he missed the tournament and the famous win against New Zealand.

The teenager, who turns 20 in November, is getting close to full training and is desperate to impress new boss Dean Ryan.

"Hopefully as soon as I get back out on that pitch I can show Dean what I can do and look to impress," he said.

"I don't know if he has seen me play, buy hopefully I can get a chance early on this season and if I'm called upon I'm ready to go.

"It's nice to get the positive comments about last season, but my feet are firmly on the ground, I'm not getting carried away.

"It was a big honour to get the award for Dragons young player of the year and be recognised.

"You look at past players who have won it, the likes of Aaron Wainwright, and that just shows you the path to follow."