NEWPORT Gwent Dragons star Jason Tovey says he has “never been happier” since returning to the region after an unhappy season with Cardiff Blues, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
The outside-half came back to haunt his old side at Rodney Parade in Boxing Day’s thrilling derby.
Tovey was sublime, scoring 17 points with the boot, a shrewd general who guided his side to a memorable and thoroughly deserved 22-16 victory.
He outshone his opposite number Rhys Patchell, the 20-year-old Blue being groomed as Wales’ next No 10.
But the Dragons fly-half, still a young man at 24, must be pushing for a place in Warren Gatland’s Six Nations squad after yet another polished performance.
Tovey, who returned to the Dragons in the summer after a solitary season at Cardiff Arms Park, was delighted with how his gutsy side played on Thursday night, but added there is much work to be done if they are to complete the double over the Blues away on New Year’s Day.
“We were pretty pleased with the win and you can see where this team is going – I thought our work rate was superb and we really played together,” he said.
“My performance was okay but I did make a couple of bloopers with my kicks to touch.
“Darren Edwards (head coach) has been working hard with me, Steffan Jones and Kris Burton on our place kicking and our percentage accuracy is right up there.
“They killed us a bit at the breakdown and that’s an area we will have to improve on.”
On his homecoming to Rodney Parade after that gloomy year in the capital city, the Risca man said: “It was great to get a win over the Blues. I don’t think I was given a fair crack of the whip there but I’ve never been happier than now, back at the Dragons.”
Voted Wales’ young player of the year in 2010, Tovey remains uncapped despite his obvious talent and is keeping his feet on the ground about his Test ambitions.
“I haven’t really thought about getting into the Wales squad,” he said. “People are talking about it, but I just want to concentrate on playing well for the Dragons.”
Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones was also pleased with their Boxing Day victory – their first triumph over the Blues since March 2012.
It moved his side into the top half of the RaboDirect PRO12 after claiming sixth spot and they are now the second Welsh side in the league above the Scarlets and Blues.
“It was an excellent game,” Jones said. “It was exciting and I’m just pleased for the players – it means a lot to them.
“And I thought we deserved it at the end of the day, it was a close game and the Blues played well at times.
“There’s a lot of time to go in the season but it’s nice to be above the Scarlets.”