Back row forward Aaron Wainwright has signed his first senior contract by committing his future to the Dragons.
The Academy product has enjoyed a superb first season with the Men of Gwent, even receiving praise from Wales selectors in dispatches.
The 20-year-old from Bassaleg commented; “I am delighted to get offered a senior contract with the Dragons. They have helped me develop massively in the time I’ve been with them and hopefully they can help me to continue to grow and develop, so I can add to what they are building on and off the pitch.”
Wainwright made his regional debut against Cardiff Blues and took this opportunity during the Welsh derby to impress Dragons fans, whom he used to enjoy the matches with not so long ago.
“Before I joined the Dragons I used to watch games with one of my friends – sitting in the stand with him and all the fans who are so passionate has driven me to put in good performances so that they can enjoy games and be proud Dragons supporters. That’s why I have signed for the region.”
Wainwright took up rugby at 17 years-old making the move from football to rugby, as he joined his local team Whiteheads RFC. Following his time captaining the rugby team at Bassaleg High School, the youngster joined Cardiff Met University Rugby team and was looking forward to playing in the Principality Premiership with Newport RFC, however this changed when was called into the Dragons senior squad.
“When I was called into the senior squad, I was delighted. I think the future is bright for the Dragons and everyone has bought into what Bernard has set out to do – it’s an exciting time for everyone who’s going on that journey.
“There has been good signs of what’s to come already this year and I think it’s important that we carry on displaying that in games for the rest of the season and as we push into next year.”
Looking forward, Wainwright added; “My goals are to focus on keeping my place in the starting team and help the team to perform well to hopefully get good results and displays. I want to develop myself as a player and keep adding good parts to my game to improve my performances which I feel I can do. And realistically I want to be a part of the current change that is happening at the Dragons.”
Dragons Head Coach, Bernard Jackman added: “Aaron has been the find of the season for us in terms of his development and ability to step up to regional rugby in a position that is incredibly competitive.
“He is an outstanding athlete who we feel still has a huge amount of potential growth left in him to develop further. We are looking forward to working with him over the coming seasons.”