JASON Strange took a risk when he left a secure job at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community for one in rugby in 2015. Three years later he feels he has reaped the rewards of that gamble.

The former fly-half will head to Cardiff Blues this summer after handing in his notice at the Welsh Rugby Union, where he had been in charge of the Under-20s.

The 44-year-old took the plunge three years ago by devoting his time full-time with the governing body after previously sharing his time between the school and his position as head coach of Ebbw Vale RFC.

Strange had spent five seasons in the Eugene Cross Park hotseat, helping the Steelmen win four titles in Division One East and the Championship and laying the foundations for their Premiership title triumph.

He enjoyed more success with Wales by masterminding a first Under-20s Six Nations grand slam in 2016 and his exploits with young prospects have earned a chance up the coaching ladder in the capital.

Strange will be backs and attack coach under new Blues head honcho John Mulvihill, who is taking over from Danny Wilson.

"I am excited," said Strange. "You know when the time is right and the opportunity is right. This is one that I had to take.

"I took quite a risk initially when I gave up a very good job teaching but it was one that has paid off with this opportunity for the next challenge.

"It's a different type of role but the principles of coaching don't change. You are ultimately trying to make players better and that's the same whether coaching at school or in a full-time environment."

Strange will now be tasked with helping Mulvihill achieve the next step for a Blues side left in rude health by Wilson.

Cardiff will enjoy Champions Cup rugby next season and supporters are still on cloud nine after a stunning European Challenge Cup triumph in Bilbao.

"I first had a conversation with John about philosophies and my views on the game," said Strange. "We are very similar in that we are attack-minded and skill-based.

"We are going into a team with a lot of momentum and confidence. That pressure and expectation is fantastic because I want to go in there and be successful.

"Things are going really well and we just have keep challenging the players and each other to get better.

"Just playing in a European cup final, let alone winning it, is a priceless experience for the young players.

"That puts us in a really good place and hopefully we can hit the ground running and take the next steps to help the region continue to be successful.

"There were 12 of that 23 who came through the academy, and that's what was attractive about the job. The likes of Jarrod Evans, Owen Lane, Dillon Lewis, Tomos Williams won't hit their peak until 26 or 27 and that's really encouraging."

Strange has worked with those prospects in the age-grade system and, after helping the current crop in their final preparations for next week's World Rugby U20 Championship, will reflect on a successful spell with the WRU.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed it and would like to think I have played a small part in the development of some players who have gone on to become senior professionals and internationals," said the former Newport, Ebbw and Newbridge number 10, who helped coach Canada last autumn.

"It's really satisfying when you watch the likes of (Dragons back row forwards) Ollie Griffiths and Harrison Keddie and think back to when they were 17 or 18.

"The job allowed me to help young players develop but it also allowed me to develop my own coaching in between the Six Nations and World Cup campaigns. Now I've got the chance to put that into practice."