Already a fully qualified pilot at 21, Dragons winger Adam Hughes was a headline writer’s dream when his try-scoring exploits catapulted him onto the scene last season.
But the Welsh flyer always had his heart set on a switch to the centres and, while the positional change has taken a while to bed in this campaign, Hughes insists it won’t be long until he is hitting the heights again.
The Dragons have flattered to deceive in the RaboDirect PRO12 this season with their poor form away from Rodney Parade a key factor in their lowly tenth position in the table.
And Hughes admits that while he has undergone his own personal transformation the side as a whole have struggled to cope with the demands of a tough fixture list.
“The start of the season was very tough for us, we got a bit unlucky with the fixtures early on and found ourselves with a few tough away games in Ireland in particular and they didn’t go as we would have liked,” he said.
“That means that we haven’t got a lot to fight for between now and the end of the season but we are still aiming for that third Welsh position that could get us Heineken Cup rugby.
“The club will be fighting in every game though, for pride if nothing else and we want to build up momentum to take into next season.
“From a personal point of view, I'm quite happy with how the season has gone, I’ve made the switch from wing to centre and while it’s taken time I’ve really enjoyed it.
“I played centre when I was younger but at the Dragons I broke through last year as a winger and had quite a successful time.
“But with the switch to 13 I knew that this year wasn’t going to be as successful as that straight away, it’s been a learning curve.
“The increase in physicality is the key difference between the two but I’ve also had to take on the organisational responsibilities of being one of the defensive captains.
“Sometimes out on the wing you get the chance to catch your breath but in the centres you’re constantly involved, especially with the blitz defence, and that also took some getting used to again.”
Whether it is the increased responsibilities involved in the switch to centre or not, the tries have been far less forthcoming than last year for Hughes, who notched his first try of the season at the end of January in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
And while the speedster admits that his scoring touch appeared to have deserted him for a while, he is confident it won’t be long before he is back to the kind of form that saw him touch down ten times for the Welsh outfit last season.
“As a wing you are always going to be judged on your tries and while I haven’t repeated the try-scoring I showed last year it’s nice not to have the same pressure anymore,” he added.
“But regardless of where you play tries are always what players are going to be judged on and I know I have that ability so if I keep working on the smaller things in my game then the tries will return soon enough.
“Hopefully between now and the end of the season there will be a few more for me, as a team we haven’t been making that many opportunities compared to last year and that hasn’t helped.”