DRAGONS flanker Aaron Wainwright is on a final push – not just to cement a spot in Wales' World Cup squad but to earn more game time from Warren Gatland.

The 21-year-old from Bassaleg is poised to be named in the starting line-up for the first of the four warm-ups for Japan, a Test against England at Twickenham on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).

Wainwright is looking good to be one of head coach Gatland's five back row forwards in the 31-strong squad, especially after number eight Taulupe Faletau joined flanker Ellis Jenkins on the injured list.

The Dragons tyro has featured in eight of Wales' 10 Tests since he made his debut in Argentina last June and was an ever-present in the Six Nations Grand Slam.

However, he isn't just content to rival Aaron Shingler in a battle for the 20 jersey – he wants to put the heat on back row starters Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty.

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"I will try to take any opportunity I get with both hands to try and show what I can do, doing anything I can to win Warren over to get me on the plane," said Wainwright.

"I spent the majority of the Six Nations on the bench and would have liked to have more game time.

"If I can get that in these warm-up games it will be ideal to showcase what I can do."

Barring an injury blow, Wainwright looks set to be one of the five back rowers in Gatland's final 31 but he doesn't want to be wrapped in cotton wool in the warm-up double-headers against England and Ireland.

"Injuries are always going to be in the back of the mind, especially with what happened to Toby, which was gutting for him", he said.

"But as soon as you get on the pitch your mind is taken off that – my main focus will be on playing as well as I can and performing strongly."

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Wainwright had only just taken up rugby at Whiteheads when the last World Cup was taking place with his 18th birthday the day before Wales' famous win against England.

Four years after watching the action with friends on television – with his sole recollection Lloyd Williams' kicking through for Gareth Davies to score at Twickenham – he is tantalisingly close to being centre stage.

"It would be massive, the pinnacle of anyone's career," said Wainwright, who has only played 50 senior matches.

"As soon as you start playing rugby, that's what you want to achieve - to play for your country and then play for your country at the World Cup.

"It only comes around every four years, so it would be very special.

"To come through that quickly, I guess, it is surprising for me. If I can get into the squad, that would be awesome - one of my biggest dreams since I started playing rugby."

Going well in London against tough opposition on Sunday would provide another tick in the box in the bid for Japan.

Wainwright came on for the final four minutes of the Six Nations win against England in Cardiff, just before Josh Adams' clincher, and is relishing another encounter with Eddie Jones' men.

"We beat them in the Six Nations, so they are going to be fired up. It's a massive derby and I don't think they will be taking it lightly. It will be a good game against a fierce team," he said.

"Because of our 14 wins, the mentality is to keep that run going. If we can do that and perform as well as we have then it will be a massive boost going into the World Cup."