AARON Wainwright has hailed the big impact being made by Wales teammate Dan Lydiate on and off the field at the Dragons.

The duo joined forces with Harri Keddie in an impressive and well-balanced back row performance to beat the Scarlets 13-12 on New Year’s Day.

Number eight Wainwright was named as man of the match but his flankers complemented his efforts before Ollie Griffiths added energy off the bench, and won a pair of key turnovers at the death.

Lydiate rolled back the years for a first win as a Dragons since 2013, putting in 17 tackles without a miss.

The 36-year-old suffered a rib injury on his return from World Cup duty but has remained an influence for Dai Flanagan’s side.

South Wales Argus: CELEBRATION: Dan Lydiate and Ollie Griffiths after the Dragons' win against the ScarletsCELEBRATION: Dan Lydiate and Ollie Griffiths after the Dragons' win against the Scarlets (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

"He is a massive voice, a senior figure and very experienced,” said Wainwright. “Even just hearing the way that he talks to the young boys, I will still pick up on things he is saying.

“Little key words he uses keep you ticking over and make sure that you are keeping honest with yourself in training and games.

“If he is next to you in attack or defence you will always hear him chatting, maybe not shouting as loud some people, but you know he is there and guiding you through games which is great and exactly what you want.

“He still hits hard as ever. He is not somebody you want to hold the tackle bag for when you are doing your extras!

"That is what you want, he is driving extras, making sure the younger boys are being honest with things and it brings everybody along and staying on top of things.”

Wainwright and Lydiate are set to join forces again in Parma on Saturday when the Dragons aim to take a step towards qualification for the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup.

Flanagan’s men started the competition with a bonus-point win against Oyonnax and then left Pau with a consolation bonus after conceding a last-gasp try, with a pool stage finale to come against the Sharks in Newport.

South Wales Argus: Dragons and Wales star Aaron WainwrightDragons and Wales star Aaron Wainwright (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Wainwright said: "We played very well against Oyonnax and had a close game against Pau. We are hoping to continue that on and hopefully the games at home and get a bit of momentum going.

"It will be another couple of weeks of hard graft and we can't just come away [from it] with a 13-12 win against the Scarlets. There are still a lot of things to work on."

Wainwright was encouraged by the way that the Dragons edged out the Scarlets when they ended with Ryan Woodman in the second row, Will Reed at fly-half, Harri Ackerman and Aneurin Owen as centres and Ewan Rosser on the wing.

“I spoke after the game about how well some of the young boys did and how well they were able to manage the conditions,” said the Wales star.

"They played their part in the game and that's good to see. The more we can have that coming through and the experiences they will get will be great for the team as a whole.”