FORMER Newport Gwent Dragons fly-half Jason Tovey says he is reaping the rewards of rolling the dice and moving away from Wales.
The 28-year-old from Risca has spent the last year in Edinburgh after taking a gamble by bringing an early end to his contract at Rodney Parade.
With no fresh deal on the table Tovey, the leading scorer in Dragons history with 951 points over eight seasons, headed to Murrayfield on a short-term contract.
It was a move that paid off last May when then boss Alan Solomons offered him fresh terms through to 2018.
With 18 appearances to his name at Edinburgh, Tovey is loving life up in the north.
“Moving out of Wales was a bit of a risk for me but it was a case of now or never and it has worked out well for me,” said the left-footed playmaker.
“I think it has been good for me to be out of Wales, away from the limelight a bit, and I’ve got a different lifestyle based in the middle of a big city like Edinburgh rather than in my village.
“It’s been a good change for me and I suppose I’ve had to grow up a bit and get on with things.”
Tovey burst onto the scene with some dazzling performances in the Principality Premiership when just 17 and made his Dragons debut against the Ospreys in April, 2008.
While he is no longer bracketed with players of potential, the former Wales Under-20s international still has plenty ahead of him and intends to appreciate it.
“I’ve got another year here and will be 29 then, it goes so quickly and I just want to enjoy my rugby,” said Tovey, who had an ill-fated season with Cardiff Blues in 2012/13.
“I’ve played enough games now and I’m one of the experienced players, so hopefully I can show that on the field.
“I knew before I signed that I would have a battle with (Scotland fly-half) Duncan Weir, who is a very good player, but I am enjoying that and I think it’s been good for me.”
Tovey will have a new boss to impress next season with the uncompromising former Leicester boss Richard Cockerill taking the reins in Edinburgh.
With the Scots sitting ninth in the Guinness PRO12, just two points head of the Dragons, it hasn’t been the best of league campaigns, although they do have a home quarter-final in the European Challenge Cup.
“It’s been a tough year but you can’t fault the effort of the boys,” said Tovey. “We are working hard every week but results haven’t quite gone our way.
“There is a really good bunch of boys here and a strong set-up with a new coach coming in next season so I am sure we will turn it around. None of us have been coached by Cockerill so we don’t know too much about him but we are all looking forward to it.
“Glasgow have been known as the number one team in Scotland in recent years but we have spoken as a group about changing that and pushing them next season and the season after that.”
The goal for the rest of this season, however, is finishing ninth with a special date at Myreside ringed on Tovey’s calendar.
“We’ve got the Dragons on April 28, which is my birthday,” said the fly-half, who started in a 27-19 loss on his return to Rodney Parade in November.
“Hopefully I’ll be selected and get one over them!”
The Dragons play their final Newport game of the season when they host PRO12 title hopefuls Ulster next Friday.
The derby against the Scarlets is at Principality Stadium as part of the Judgement Day double-header while the clash with Cardiff Blues on final weekend cannot be played at Rodney Parade because of a fixture clash with Newport County.
The Dragons are yet to announce the venue for that fixture after conducting site visits at Ebbw Vale, Cross Keys and Caerphilly.