DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan says Taine Basham is on Wales' radar but believes the young back rower would be better served by concentrating on the battle for starts at Rodney Parade.

The 20-year-old from Talywain has made an outstanding start to the season and caught the eye in front of national boss Wayne Pivac against Castres on Saturday.

The back rower crossed for a hat-trick in the first half of the 31-17 European Challenge Cup success in Newport to take his try tally to six for the campaign.

Basham, comfortable at number eight or flanker, is an ever-present under Ryan and the director of rugby has hailed the strides made by the hot prospect, who recently signed a long-term contract.

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"I thought that Taine was outstanding in the second half but probably got the man of the match for his first half," he said.

"He was much more physical and harder on the ball. We know that Taine can run attacking lines, find space and bump out of tackles and go, that's not the bit I am challenging him to be better at and I told him that in the second half he was great."

Basham starred for Wales Under-20s last season but could be a bolter when Wayne Pivac names his squad to face the Barbarians on Tuesday.

However, Wales are blessed for back row options with Dragons duo Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty likely to be joined by Justin Tipuric, Aaron Shingler and James Davies for the Principality Stadium money-spinner on November 30.

Pivac and forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys watched on at Rodney Parade on Saturday and will have been struck by the Dragons number eight.

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"He is definitely on the radar because you can't come to a game and not see Taine Basham," said Ryan.

"But I think one of the dangers of the Dragons is that sometimes people have been ramped up too quickly, and I would say that about some of his exposure to the PRO14.

"I don't mean that just about Taine, we've got a small squad and sometimes that means people come in and play a good game.

"But play a good couple of months, play a good year, play a good couple of years. That's where Test players are built.

"There is a hell of a difference between having some moments in games and being a Test player.

"He's on the radar, absolutely, but let's keep him fighting to get in this team because there are some other decent back rowers in Wales to be fair.

"When you play a young lad and he has a great game, you can then expect great things of him and judge them as someone higher up the ladder, then when he has a poor game it's quite a big fall.

"Being consistent week in, week out and being physically ready is all part how we move some of this talent we've got here through the PRO14 and hopefully to higher recognition."

Ryan was impressed by 20-year-old Basham and also hailed the performance of 35-year-old hooker Richard Hibbard.

The former Wales and Lions front rower rolled back the years with a typically confrontational display, getting a rousing reception when replaced in the 75th minute.

Ryan said: "I am taking him to places he has never been before, he hasn't been near 80 minutes for about 10 years!

"He played a full 80 last time out (at Edinburgh) and I let him off today because I thought that he deserved a bit of crowd adulation.

"I can't take him off because he is playing so well – he is throwing himself around, he is enjoying his rugby."

The Dragons face Enisei-STM on Friday and take on Worcester in a double-header in December.