Dragons flyer Rio Dyer puts his tools aside to focus on Wales opportunity
Rio Dyer will be putting his building work to one side for the next month as he focuses on laying the foundations for an international career instead.
The uncapped Dragons RFC winger has been busy renovating his house in Newport, learning a whole new range of construction skills along the way.
But now he will be laying down the tools having been selected in the Wales squad for the autumn internationals against New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Georgia.
“I’m renovating my house at the moment. We have builders in the family, we have a company,” explained the 22-year-old from Rogerstone (village in Newport).
“I have been learning along the way. My whole family have been teaching me how to do it.
“I can build stud walls now, I have been doing insulation, I have been doing everything to be fair. I am a man of all trades now!
“I will have to get my brother up there while I am in camp because I can’t really be doing too much.”
Dyer will link up with Wales on the crest of a wave having scored two thrilling tries during the Dragons’ 32-25 BKT United Rugby Championship victory over the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.
Early in the second half, he showed his finishing prowess as he dived in one-handed at the corner after a lovely in-out shimmy.
Then, four minutes from time, came the game’s pivotal moment. With his team down to 13 men after a double sin-binning and under heavy pressure, he made a great read, plucking Nicky Smith’s pass out of the pair to pull off the interception and race home from 60 metres.
Giving his take on that crucial score, the young speedster said: “We get told to stay high on the edges and I tried to get in his eyeline.
“When he threw the pass and it flew into my hands, I just put my head down and aimed for that try line.”
Reflecting on the bonus point victory, he said: “We were disappointed last week (losing to Cardiff), we should have got a result. So we came out, worked hard and put on a performance. Everyone was incredible and we kept our composure.”
Dyer is fast becoming a real cult hero with Dragons fans, with the chant of “Rio, Rio, Rio” echoing around Rodney Parade following his two tries.
“To get a home derby win is amazing, but I don’t think we could have done it without the crowd,” he said.
“What they bring to us boys, the chants, everything, it just gives us that extra boost. You can’t thank the fans enough.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable. I looked at the clock after about 60 minutes and my legs had gone, but the crowd just gives you that extra boost. You are doing it for them. It was really good.”
It won’t be Dyer’s first time in the Wales camp as he was one of a group of young players called up before this summer’s tour of South Africa to bolster training numbers and appear in a warm-up match, where he made his mark by scoring a well-taken try.
“That week and a half was definitely an eye opener to what’s in store,” he said.
“It gave me that little extra boost of thinking how I need to develop my game to be at that top level, to be able to be at the Principality Stadium and put in performances.
“I’ve watched a lot of the boys in the squad growing up, seen them on the TV when I was a kid in my teenage years. It’s a case of realising I am now in the situation I have been watching.
“When I went in there in the summer, it wasn’t like I felt uncomfortable. Everyone was welcoming.
“They were kind to me even though I was just a visitor. They are a good bunch of boys and make you feel welcome.”
On the challenges that lie ahead over the next month, he said: “It’s obviously going to be high intensity, but it’s also about doing the little things well consistently. That’s what sets you apart. You can do it once or twice, but you have to keep doing it throughout the 80 minutes.
“It’s all about becoming the best player I can. It’s just striving for that. I am still pretty young, so I have still got loads to learn.
“These couple of weeks will be that opportunity to take that straight into my stride. The camp will make me learn a lot of things.
“It would be amazing to get a cap, but the only way I am going to do that is by bettering myself. It will come when I am ready.”
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