RIO Dyer is fuelled by a desire to help the Dragons turn their fortunes around but admits the prospect of having to turn his back on Wales was a major factor in signing a new two-year deal.

The speedster will stay at Rodney Parade until at least the summer of 2026 after agreeing a new contract extension.

The 24-year-old from Rogerstone was on the radar of clubs in England and France thanks to his international exploits but a move was never really on the cards.

Dyer marked his Test debut with a try against New Zealand in 2022 and is poised to add to his tally of 14 caps in the Six Nations.

Even if he plays in all five games, the winger will be short of the 25 needed to remain eligible for the international team while playing outside of Wales.

South Wales Argus: DEAL: Dragons winger Rio DyerDEAL: Dragons winger Rio Dyer (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“It was a huge part of the decision,” admitted Dyer. “I've worked tirelessly over the years and it was a dream to put that Welsh jersey on.

“Rugby is a tough sport and business, putting on the Welsh jersey means too much to me, I couldn't let it go. I love putting it on and I love the environment.

“I'm trying my best now to perform as well as I can. I want to keep doing what I can and keep in the squad.”

Dyer is hopeful that Wales teammates Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham and Leon Brown will follow in signing up to stay at the Dragons.

The club are one from bottom of the United Rugby Championship and have traditionally finished as the lowest Welsh side.

Dyer is confident that things can change in the long term but his immediate focus is the Sharks tomorrow and securing qualification for the last 16 of the Challenge Cup.

Today’s results will dictate whether the Dragons need to beat the South Africans or merely secure a bonus point.

South Wales Argus: Rio Dyer on the run for the Dragons against the Sharks in DurbanRio Dyer on the run for the Dragons against the Sharks in Durban (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

It will be a tough test whatever given the Sharks romped to a 69-14 win when the teams met in Durban in November.

"You know the calibre the Sharks have in their team,” said Dyer. “They've got Springboks and World Cup winners in the team.

“They're physical, they're big men and they're up front. That's something we love, the game is at home, it's at Rodney Parade.

“We're going to enjoy the moment and try and be as physical as they want to be.”

“We're three from three at home, so it's just about keeping that streak going. We take a lot of pride in Rodney Parade being our home and not making it easy for teams to get a win.”