DRAGONS star Aaron Wainwright is hungry to keep racking up the games in a mammoth season that could end with 31 appearances.

The number eight will be to the fore when the Rodney Parade club finish their United Rugby Championship campaign against the Scarlets at Cardiff City Stadium Judgement Day on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

However, Wainwright will not be clocking off this weekend because he is set to be a key figure for Wales this summer.

The back rower is likely to be in the XV for the June 22 Test against South Africa at Twickenham before two July encounters with Australia Down Under.

Wainwright has had a big workload over the last 12 months for club and country.

He has won 11 caps as a starter plus faced the Barbarians while he has also racked up 15 Dragons appearances, just two of them off the bench.

He could well finish with 31 outings from last August’s win against England to the second Wallabies Test, possibly 32 if he also faces Queensland Reds.

Given that it wasn't long ago he was on the international fringes under Wayne Pivac, you won't hear Wainwright grumbling.

South Wales Argus: Dragons star Aaron Wainwright starred for Wales at the World CupDragons star Aaron Wainwright starred for Wales at the World Cup (Image: PA)

“It was a quick turnaround from the World Cup and then straight back into things [with the Dragons], then there was the Six Nations,” he said.

“I’ve played a lot of rugby and have really enjoyed doing that. I just hope I can keep the body fresh.”

The talisman has played in 15 of 17 possible games for the Dragons this season – and wasn’t happy when boss Dai Flanagan gave him a December breather.

“I love playing. We spoke about managing game time and I didn’t travel away to Pau and I was gutted,” said Wainwright, who has won 48 caps and made 108 outings for the Dragons since his 2017 debut.

“If there is a week where I am managing load or a niggle, or there is a chance I am not going to be fit, then I am really annoyed. If I don’t play then I am frustrated.

“Some players can go without a lot of game time and perform really well but I need to keep playing.

“Game time isn’t given here at the Dragons because we have a really competitive back row, but I am a proud Gwent man and want to play.”

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

The Dragons have played 166 games since Wainwright’s debut and, when off Wales duty, he has racked up 108 appearances.

Most of those have ended in defeat but that didn’t stop the 26-year-old from Bassaleg signing up for at least two more campaigns at Rodney Parade.

“A big part of my decision to stay was the coaching team that is being build and the younger guys coming through,” he said.

“When I look back on my career I want to be able to say that I have given something 100 per cent and helped the Dragons to where I know we can get to.”