AARON Wainwright is confident that a 15-man Dragons can get revenge against Worcester on Friday to keep their European Challenge Cup hopes burning brightly.

The Rodney Parade region’s bid for the knockout stages suffered a first blow last weekend when they lost 34-28 to the Warriors at Sixways.

The turning point happened in the first quarter when flanker Taine Basham was red-carded for a dangerous tackle – a decision that angered director of rugby Dean Ryan – but the visitors rallied to at least leave the Midlands with a consolation bonus.

That keeps them top of Pool One, a point ahead of the English side and three in front of Castres – the five group winners and three best runners-up qualify for the last eight.

The Dragons host Worcester on Friday (kick-off 8pm) before travelling to France and entertaining Enisei-STM in January.

“We worked hard and to get a point was a good achievement, now we are looking forward to this week on our patch,” said Wales back row ace Wainwright.

“We held our own for a lot of the game and now we are looking forward to playing with 15 and turning things around.

“If we get the win we can look forward to the rest of the challenge in Europe and hopefully going into the knockout stages.

“That point was massive for us and if we can get a win this week it will give us massive confidence for the rest of the group. If we have 15 players on the pitch we will definitely be able to put a shift in.

“I think we dealt with the red card quite well and we did hang in there, but it’s not ideal and this week with 15 men we will be able to go again and be strong.”

The red card was a first major setback in the career of promising back row forward Basham, the 20-year-old from Talywain who was in the Wales squad for the Barbarians fixture.

“He was obviously disappointed afterwards, but he’s a bright boy so will learn from what’s happened,” added Wainwright.

Basham will join Wainwright in a fierce battle for back row spots over the festive period with fellow Wales squad members Ross Moriarty and Ollie Griffiths plus Huw Taylor, Harri Keddie, Ben Fry and James Benjamin.

“The competition in the back row can only be a positive for all of us, it will help push us all in training to try and get a starting jersey," said Wainwright.

“With four Dragons back rowers in the Wales squad places will definitely be up for grabs and there will be pressure to perform well. It’s going to be interesting for the rest of the season.

“I’ll get my head down and try and make the jersey my own.”

Worcester boss Alan Solomons knows his side are in for a stern test in Newport.

“The Dragons are a tough, gritty team and are particularly tough on their home patch,” he said. “We are going to have a very tough game on Friday night."