STRONG-RUNNING Aaron Wainwright has been tipped to leave his mark on tour with Wales this summer – just like he did when taking his first steps with the Dragons.

The 20-year-old has been selected by Warren Gatland for the June encounters with South Africa and Argentina just seven months after he made his professional debut. He will learn this afternoon whether his first cap will come against the Springboks in Washington on Saturday.

The back row forward from Bassaleg was a huge hit in a challenging season for the Dragons and played in 25 of 26 games after making his first appearance off the bench against Cardiff Blues in October.

Wainwright impressed the Wales management with his strong ball carrying and co-captain Cory Hill was also able to provide his regional teammate with a glowing reference after some bruising tussles with the flanker in Ystrad Mynach.

"Aaron has had a decent season for the Dragons, he is just 20 and is excited, so I just told him to do his job and work hard," said the lock.

"He has a great work rate and has come in really excited, buzzing for it. It will be a great tour for him and hopefully he goes on to get his cap in as long as he puts the hard work in.

"He came into the Dragons and leapt onto the scene. At the start of the year he was with the academy and I remember thinking 'jeez, who is this running into us in training?' He was a keen youngster coming through and we had to tackle him unfortunately!

"Aaron broke into the side and has been there ever since, which is credit to him. I take my hat off to him because he works hard, puts all the extras in and is reaping the rewards now for the summer tour.

"He is a hell of an athlete and has shown in games for the Dragons that he is explosive by carrying really well with a lovely offload. He just has to keep working on his strengths and doing what he is really good at."

Hill has grown as a player and leader since breaking into the Wales squad in the autumn of 2016, when he was also the beneficiary of others' injury misfortune.

The Dragons have reaped the rewards of the lock training and playing next to the likes of Alun Wyn Jones and the tour co-captain believes the same will apply for Wainwright in 2018/19.

"You learn massively from coming into camp and seeing how things are done," said Hill, who has played in all nine Tests this season to take his tally of caps to 15.

"It's such a step up from regional rugby so it's massive for him to see, and hopefully he will be exposed to Test rugby and come back a better player for the Dragons."