Wainwright jets away with high hopes


Dragons ace Aaron Wainwright jets off to Japan today (Wednesday) eager to write the next chapter in his staggering rise to international stardom.

The 21-year-old was selected in Warren Gatland's 31-strong group for Japan less than two years after making his professional debut.

The Bassaleg-born back row only got a first taste of Test rugby in Argentina last summer – he has since played in Wales' last 11 Tests.

It has been a stunning progression from the level-headed Wainwright who is now pushing hard for a place in the XV against Georgia in the World Cup opener.

"It's been a hell of a journey,” he said. “I've had a lot of messages but I've also said thank you to coaches who have helped me get to where I am.

"James Chapron (Dragons General Manager) messaged me and I said thanks to him, Gwesyn Price Jones and Justin Thomas too (from his time at Bassaleg School).

"It's gone quite quickly and every time I go home my parents talk about how much I have achieved.

“I am enjoying it and trying to soak it all in. Everything has happened quickly but I just want to keep pushing on.”

Wainwright will hope to line-up in Wales’ first pool fixture on Monday, September 23 and he is adamant that getting on the plane to Japan was just the start of the World Cup journey.

“After getting called up I am pretty head-down and focused now," he said.

"There are six back row forwards in the squad and there is massive competition.

“That will push us all hard in training and there will be a real competitive edge. I want to train and play well, then see what happens in the World Cup.

"With so many back rowers, our role is to push the others if they are starting,” he added.

“Those not involved have a big role to play in training so that whoever starts is in the best possible condition to play.

"I am glad that Warren has selected me to start this summer and I think that my performances have showed that he can trust me.

"I think that I have done well and want to carry that on now, all working towards that first game."

It's gone quite quickly and every time I go home my parents talk about how much I have achieved...
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