DRAGONS flanker Aaron Wainwright has worked with Lions ace Justin Tipuric to develop his breakdown menace and boost his World Cup hopes.

The 21-year-old from Bassaleg is eyeing a place in Warren Gatland's squad for Japan 2019, a remarkable rise after only converting from football to rugby shortly before England 2015.

Wainwright featured in every game of Wales' Grand Slam triumph, starting in Rome and coming off the bench in the other Six Nations wins, but has not rested on his laurels.

Wainwright has impressed with his dynamism and work rate but the Dragons forward, who can play across the back row, knows he needs to add more strings to his bow.

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"Before the Six Nations, (forwards coach) Robin McBryde said that he wanted me to work on my lineout so I did lots of technical work with him and the lineout leaders," said the eight-times capped prospect.

"I've also worked closely with Shaun Edwards because I need to work on my jackaling, which is not one of my strongest points. I did extras on that with the help of Tips and Josh Navidi."

Gatland is blessed for back row options with Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau, Navidi and Ross Moriarty in pole position for the World Cup and Ellis Jenkins, Dan Lydiate, Thomas Young, Aaron Shingler, James Davies and Josh Turnbull also in the mix.

Wainwright knows that he has to grasp every opportunity between now and August to achieve his dream of making the final 31.

He said: "I can't believe that I am in contention to go! There are still players to come back from injury, so it's just a case of doing what I have been doing and keeping on performing for the Dragons.

"Hopefully I can get selected for the World Cup warm-ups and get a bit more time to show what I need to for the coaches to have the trust in me for the squad.

"They gave me game time in the Six Nations and I was over the moon about that. The back row performed awesomely and I felt that I did my job when I came on.

"I've enjoyed all the chances that I have had and I have learnt so much. I just want to keep going now."

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This time last year Wainwright was reflecting on an unexpected campaign that saw him become a Dragons regular after only making his pro debut in October.

That was followed by a surprise Wales call-up for the summer tour and a first cap in Argentina – yet the rise has continued.

Wainwright enjoyed autumn Test action in the wins against Tonga and South Africa and then, in just his second season in senior rugby, became a Grand Slam winner.

"If you had told me at the start of the Six Nations that I would be involved in every game then I would have laughed at you," he said.

"To be involved as much I have been has been an amazing experience; when we came together at the Senedd for the celebrations it made me realise how big an achievement it is and it was special to be part of it.

"I never thought that I could get to this stage in a year and a half. Everyone has said to make sure you don't let the moment pass you by and that's what I trying to do."