Wales: Dragons' Tom Prydie says versatility aided recall

Tom Prydie
Prydie toured Japan with Wales last year when 15 senior players were on the British and Irish Lions tour in Australia

Newport Gwent Dragons back Tom Prydie believes his versatility helped him earn a place in Wales' 34-man squad for the autumn series.

The 22-year-old wing won his most recent international cap against Japan last year.

But Prydie says his game has improved since moving to centre due to an injury crisis at Rodney Parade.

"It's been good to be playing there, it makes you more aware of how the centres play," he said.

"You get a bit more ball and work on defensive stuff as well which is a bit different to wing.

"I can cover the whole of the back three which is an added bonus."

Prydie has been deputising at outside centre for Dragons in recent weeks following injuries to Pat Leach, Ross Wardle, Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan.

He is one of three Dragons picked by Warren Gatland for the November Test matches, alongside wing Hallam Amos and number eight Taulupe Faletau.

Wales' autumn Tests
Saturday, 8 November: v Australia (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 15 November: v Fiji (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 22 November: v New Zealand (17:30 BST)
Saturday, 29 November: v South Africa (14:30 BST)
All games to be played at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Prydie became the youngest player to play for Wales when he faced Italy in the 2010 Six Nations aged 18 years and 25 days.

The 6ft 4in Porthcawl-born player also became Wales' youngest try-scorer when he touched down against South Africa in June 2010 and later that month played twice against New Zealand.

But Prydie then fell out of favour with Wales, while he also struggled to hold down a regular first-team place with the Ospreys.

He joined Dragons in May 2012 from Ospreys, having spent much of the previous season on loan at London Wasps.

Prydie was recalled by Wales for their two-Test tour of Japan last year and earned his long-awaited fifth cap in Wales' 23-8 defeat in the second Test.

"The last time I played in Japan was an amazing moment [so] I'm really happy to be back in the squad," he said.

"I know what it's all about so it won't be such a surprise and it will probably be a bit easier for me to settle into the squad."

The former Osprey faces competition from British and Irish Lions Alex Cuthbert and George North for a place on the wing, and he is realistic about his chances.

"They're great players. Everybody in the back-three is playing very well," said Prydie.

"All you can do is train as hard as you can and put your hand up."

Dragons recorded an unlikely bonus point victory against Stade Francais in Paris in the opening round of the European Challenge Cup on Saturday.

And Director of Rugby Lyn Jones hopes improved form in the future will lead to further international call-ups from Rodney Parade.

"We're up to three now and we hope that come Six Nations that we could increase that to six," he said.

"We haven't been on top of our game in September and that's probably hurt a couple of boys from making the cut.

"However, there's a lot of growth in this side and there's a lot of promising talent.

"We need as a region to be providing far more numbers into the Welsh squad."

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