AARON Wainwright was a member of the Amber Army last month and now the Dragons flanker is excited to be fuelled once again by the Rodney Parade roar.

Dean Ryan's men kick off their United Rugby Championship campaign against the Ospreys today (kick-off 2pm).

Dragons supporters will head through the Rodney Parade turnstiles after a 569-day absence since the home defeat to Benetton in March 2020.

Their side didn't fare well behind closed doors in Newport with a record of played 10, won 2, lost 8.

Wainwright returned to the famous ground on August 25 to watch Newport County AFC go up against Premier League Southampton but will now go from bringing the noise to feeding off the atmosphere.

South Wales Argus: PACKED: Aaron Wainwright was in the crowd for County versus Southampton at Rodney ParadePACKED: Aaron Wainwright was in the crowd for County versus Southampton at Rodney Parade

"Even though County lost 8-0 the crowd was buzzing," said the Wales international, who was on the books of the Exiles and Cardiff City as a youngster.

"The atmosphere was incredible so hopefully the Dragons fans can do the same if not better. They are nice and close to the pitch on the terrace and love a bit of noise.

"Having home crowd advantage can pick you up and spur you on so having our first game at Rodney Parade is massive for us and hopefully we will have lot of fans making as much noise as they can.

"It always adds a bit of spice when it's a derby and we are looking to put our best foot forward with a big performance."

Wainwright starts at number eight, joining forces with fellow internationals Ross Moriarty and Ollie Griffiths, after recovering from a calf tear suffered for Wales against Argentina in the summer.

The aim is to pick up where they left off in the Guinness PRO14 when they finished with wins against the Ospreys, Glasgow and Edinburgh and battled for a consolation bonus against Ulster.

South Wales Argus: PROMISING: Aaron Wainwright helped the Dragons beat Wasps in pre-seasonPROMISING: Aaron Wainwright helped the Dragons beat Wasps in pre-season

"We haven't set definitive aims, we just want to take the form that we had at the end of last season into the new one," said Wainwright.

"We put in some really good performances and a lot of the younger players put their hands up and played really well.

"For us it's about pushing on this season, gelling more as a group and putting in performances that get wins.

"We had a good pre-season with two good performances against Leicester and Wasps, so it's about taking that into the season now."

Wainwright, who is 24 today, has played just 94 senior games (61 for Dragons, 31 caps and one Barbarians game for Wales) since his rapid rise in 2017/18.

However, he has crammed a lot into a short space of time and boss Dean Ryan is demanding he sets standards.

"There are a few of us that he is expecting more of as a leadership group to facilitate some of the things he is trying to get out of training sessions," he said.

"He is going about it a great way, allowing us to get more involved and emphasise the messages that he wants to get across. We are building a strong core of leaders."