WALES Under-20s hooker Elliot Dee is the first to acknowledge that patience must be a virtue for him over the coming years.
The young front rower penned a two-year development contract with Newport Gwent Dragons at the start of the month.
The 18-year-old is rated highly by the coaching staff at Rodney Parade and has enjoyed plenty of training sessions with the seniors.
In fact, he is third hooker in line for the region and was called up to the Amlin Challenge Cup squad following an injury to veteran Steve Jones, who is 17 years older than Dee.
But while Test caps came swiftly for Wales wing George North and fellow Gwent prospects Hallam Amos and Jack Dixon are shining with the Dragons, Dee knows the chances of becoming the next teenage sensation are slim.
It’s different in the boilerhouse and the young hooker knows that there is plenty of learning to be done when it comes to the dark arts of the front row.
“They are all putting in great performances but I understand I have to bide my time,” said Dee, who came through the ranks at Penallta.
“George North came through so quickly but an 18-year-old front row player at senior level is not really heard of.
“I want to come through as fast as possible and being a professional rugby player is all I have ever wanted to do, but I know I need to be patient and bide my time.”
That means plenty more time with Premiership leaders Bedwas, being looked after by the experienced props Kristian Gay, Ian George, Dan Preece and Matthew Pettit.
“I am really enjoying my time with Bedwas,” said Dee. “I am learning a lot and getting plenty of game time.
“We are going well in the league, it’s great to be in a winning teams and I think we have been doing superbly as a front row.
“We’ve got plenty of penalty tries this season and the other boys are really helping me along.”
But it won’t be Bridge Field matters on the young hooker’s mind over the coming weeks and months.
Dee is part of the Wales squad for the Under-20s Six Nations and a place on the plane to France for the Junior World Championships is up for grabs.
He said: “The World Cup is the aim for all of us and if we do well over the next few months then those performances can earn us a spot in the squad.
“There’s a lot of competition at hooker but I’ve just got to get my head down and go for it.”