Wales wing Will Harries has thanked the Dragons for his first international call up.
Harries is currently on tour in New Zealand with the senior Wales squad after a fine season of Magners League rugby and the 23-year-old admits he is indebted to his region.
The Dragons were many people’s surprise package in this year’s Magners League, beating all four of the league’s top teams as they remained in contention for a Play-Off spot right until the closing stages of a thrilling season.
Harries only made his Magners League debut in early December but went on to feature in all bar one of the Dragons’ 11 remaining domestic fixtures as he cemented his position in Paul Turner’s starting line up.
The former Loughborough Students and Northampton Saints squad member scored six tries in his 10 Magners League games, including a stunning hat-trick in the 49-28 thrashing of Edinburgh in April.
The Dragons became known for an expansive style of play during the 2009/10 season, particularly at Rodney Parade where they hammered Munster and beat the Ospreys in the second-half of the campaign, and Harries has no doubt that such adventure has played a major part in his involvement with Wales this summer.
“I am very grateful to everyone at the Dragons for helping me achieve this goal and get into the squad,” said Harries, who was called up to replace injured Ospreys star Shane Williams for the two-Test series against the All Blacks.
”The Dragons have been playing well and that’s been good for me because as a winger I have been getting plenty of ball.
“The forwards have been going really well so I have been benefiting from the good possession the Dragons backs have been getting.”
As for the tour itself, Harries is determined to make the most of his unexpected opportunity.
The Dragons flyer has already set his sights on a World Cup spot and he knows that, with next year’s global gathering also taking place in New Zealand, now is the perfect time to show Wales coach Warren Gatland that he is up to the challenge of international rugby.
“Everyone wants to play in a Rugby World Cup and I am no different so I really want to make my mark now in order to be considered for selection next season,” said Harries.
“It would be fantastic to be capped but I know I just have to train really hard and see what happens. I benefited from Shane Williams’ unavailability through injury but there are still other very good Welsh wings on this tour.
“Right now for me it’s all about enjoying this great experience and making sure I concentrate on the preparation. Training has already been pretty intensive here in New Zealand and in the sessions before we flew out. I know that this week it will be really full on as we get closer to the Test.
“The All Blacks are one of the best rugby teams in the world but we are focused on sticking to our game plan. I am really happy to be part of the squad and all the more senior players have been very welcoming.”