AARON Wainwright wants the Dragons to take the momentum built during the Guinness PRO14 run-in into Saturday’s big European Challenge Cup clash with Northampton at Rodney Parade.

Wainwright returned to Dean Ryan’s starting XV for Sunday’s league finale against Edinburgh, fresh from celebrating Wales’ Six Nations title triumph 24 hours earlier.

He helped his region beat the Scots 24-17 in Cardiff, a win which made it three victories in their last four PRO14 outings, the sort of form they hope will serve them well going into this weekend.

“The boys have been on form the last couple of weeks, we’re three from four, so it was a very good end to our PRO14 campaign,” said the 23-year-old flanker.

“That first 35 minutes is probably some of the best rugby I’ve been a part of while with the Dragons.

“I’m very proud of how we played in the first 35 minutes, and for a minute I thought we were going to do it (qualify for the Champions Cup with a 45-point winning margin).

“The message before the game was to be direct, keep things simple and then some of the fancy stuff would take care of itself.

“As we went ahead and started to look comfortable, we possibly tried to force things.

“For us now, pushing on, it’s about trying to do that consistently and seeing how we can bring it for the whole 80 minutes.

“We’ve been building very strongly towards the end of the campaign and we’re definitely moving in the right direction.

“Hopefully we can take the momentum from the past couple of games into Saturday and we’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“We’ll have to look back at where things went wrong in the second half on Sunday, how we can change it and possibly not chase the game as much.”

Before the Edinburgh encounter, prop Lloyd Fairbrother spoke about sensing a different atmosphere around the squad over the last month.

And after coming back from Wales duty, Wainwright could feel the same thing, although like Fairbrother, he can’t quite nail down what it is.

“Lloyd hit the nail on the head, something has changed,” he added.

“I wouldn’t be able to put my finger on it, but the players are playing for each other and we’re building very well which is exciting.

“Watching the boys against Glasgow, they held out in the last few minutes with some amazing defensive sets, and we did the same against Edinburgh.

“We probably shouldn’t have let it get to that stage, but the boys wanted to dig in for each other.”