Aaron Wainwright believes Dragons must produce an 80-minute performance to stun Bristol Bears on home soil – adding there is ‘nowhere we can hide’ in the crunch European Challenge Cup quarter-final.
Wales international back row Wainwright will be hoping to be involved as Dean Ryan’s men make the short trip to Ashton Gate on Friday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Bristol have stormed into the last eight as second seeds and Pat Lam’s side are also pushing for domestic silverware in the English Premiership.
However, Wainwright insists Dragons must focus on themselves and look to produce a complete display if they are to secure a spot in the semi-finals of Europe.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge and excited,” said the 22-year-old, who has just chalked up half a century of appearances for Dragons.
“We need to try and stop them playing and we are going to have to be switched on for the full 80 minutes.
“Anywhere that we look weak or we are switching off they will try and come after us.
“There is nowhere we can hide when we are out there on the pitch.
“We’re all excited and there is going to be a big shift from everyone – it is going to have to be if we want to make the semi-finals.”
Dragons go into the game as underdogs against a Bristol team who have piled up the points and really shone in European rugby this season.
However, Wainwright claims Dragons can upset the odds if they hit top form. He said:
“The feel about it is that it is all about us. We performed well in the group stages and everyone is excited now we have knockout rugby to look forward to.
“We go to Bristol with a chance to get through to the semi-finals and we are feeling confident. “If we concentrate on ourselves and put a good performance in then there is no reason why we can’t go through.
“Bristol are flying high in the English Premiership and they have some big-name players playing for them so it will be a big clash,” he added.
“The main emotion is excitement and looking forward to a good challenge and hopefully we can get a good result.”
As for his own performance, Wainwright knows ensuring he is on the team sheet has to be his first priority.
“We have always had strong competition in the back row here at the Dragons with a lot of depth so the battle is really high at the moment” he said.
“All I can do, and the rest of the boys, is train well and try and put my best foot forward in the game.
“A lot of boys have played well I the chances they have had and I’m sure whatever team goes out to face Bristol will compete well.”
We need to try and stop them playing and we are going to have to be switched on for the full 80 minutes...