Boss Dai Flanagan believes Aaron Wainwright has enjoyed a ‘new lease of life’ at Number Eight this season – as the Wales ace prepares to feature with the world’s best this weekend.
Wainwright has been named in the preliminary World Cup squad for Wales ahead of the showpiece final in France later this year.
The 25-year-old is joined by Rodney Parade teammates Taine Basham and Dan Lydiate, plus Taulupe Faletau, Tommy Reffell, Jac Morgan, Josh Macleod and Christ Tshuinza.
Wainwright – who is set to feature for the Barbarians against a World XV at Twickenham this Sunday - won his 37th cap in the Six Nations finale against France as a blindside flanker.
But Head Coach Flanagan sees the dynamic back rower as a Number Eight and has been thrilled by his performances this season in that jersey for the Men of Gwent.
“Aaron seems to have had a new lease of life in that Number Eight shirt,” said Flanagan, who gave Wainwright a trio of starts in that position at the end of the campaign.
“Welsh rugby needs him to come through in that position, Toby has been superb for many years and the more competition for that jersey the better.
“You see how comfortable Aaron is with ball in hand and his collisions were superb against the Scarlets at Judgement Day, sitting in the middle of the field and being able to manhandle some people.”
Wainwright – who made 19 appearances for the Dragons last season - will once again play for the famous invitational side against a World XV, featuring Dragons hooker Elliot Dee, at Twickenham on Sunday.
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You see how comfortable Aaron is with ball in hand and his collisions were superb against the Scarlets at Judgement Day, sitting in the middle of the field and being able to manhandle some people...