AARON Wainwright has been a victim of South African power twice in the space of three months, and he doesn’t want a hat-trick.

The back row forward started at number eight when the Springboks hammered Wales 52-16 in Cardiff, giving a glimpse of what was to come at the World Cup.

Then last week the 26-year-old from Bassaleg was part of the Dragons team that was humbled 69-14 by the Sharks in Durban.

Wainwright & Co were overpowered at Kings Park by a home side bolstered by their World Cup winners and things don’t get any easier.

The Dragons have travelled to Cape Town and will move on to Johannesburg for a date with the Lions, who are fresh from a 61-19 romp against Zebre.

Wainwright has faced the Springboks four times and won once – the 2018 success in Cardiff – while he has played South African club sides on 12 occasions with a win against the Southern Kings, two draws (Kings and Lions) and nine losses.

South Wales Argus: Dragons back rower Aaron Wainwright on the charge for Wales against South AfricaDragons back rower Aaron Wainwright on the charge for Wales against South Africa

The back rower is a Test beast but knows that it’s impossible to halt South Africans when they build up a head of steam, with last week a prime example.

“There were a lot of honest conversations and people took accountability,” said Wainwright.

“As soon as you start giving a team like the Sharks ins into a game it's like a snowball effect and it's hard to stop their momentum.

“They thrive off mistakes, penalties, free-kicks, getting into a set piece battle and it was tough to come back from.”

“It's always tough to come to South Africa and play them in their home stadiums,” he continued.

“They are big guys who love the physical challenge. They pride themselves on that and we probably weren’t at the races.

“They want a set piece battle and to take you on up front. When they get a bit of momentum it's so hard to stop.

“We need to take the physical challenge to them and discipline will also be a massive factor – compare the Ospreys win to the Sharks game and there was a big difference.”

On BBC Wales’ Scrum V, former Ospreys and Bristol coach Sean Holley accused the Dragons of ‘lying down’ when the points were flowing.

The Dragons shipped five tries in the final quarter but Wainwright refutes the verdict of the TV pundit.

South Wales Argus: The Dragons after the loss against the SharksThe Dragons after the loss against the Sharks (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“No, we didn’t lie down. We aimed for the bonus point and to do that we had to play a bit more and try something different,” said Wainwright, with the Dragons attempting to add to scores by Dane Blacker and Rio Dyer.

“The game was getting away from us and the aim was to go for tries. It wasn't a case of lying down, you can't discount the boys' effort, it was just game management.”

Nonetheless, this week’s analysis made for tough viewing with the players, Wainwright included, holding their hands up for the horror show.

“Nobody wants to lose by 60-odd points, especially for your home region. It hurts looking at the game back and it's about remotivating to go again,” said the number eight.

“That started in training and there is a lot of noise and chat in the group. Now it's about having the belief.

“It might sound silly after such a big loss but I still think there is confidence in the group. If we can be a bit smarter at certain times then I think things will click for us and work out better.

“We've recognised that it wasn't good enough and we've got to show we are capable of bouncing back. In training we are not feeling sorry for ourselves, we know what we need to do.”

The Dragons name their team at midday on Friday with full-back Jordan Williams set for a return to action while Will Reed is expected to be cleared to start at fly-half after failing an HIA against the Sharks.