THERE’S been plenty of talk about Edinburgh this week, firstly in preparation of our return to Guinness Pro12 action and then when Jason Tovey left to head to Scotland.

I first met ‘Tov’ when he was 17, watching him being thrown around by a sledgehammer when hitting a tyre during a conditioning session in Usk.

I played with him for Newport and the Dragons and he has shown on many occasions his natural class at both 10 and 15.

He’s been a great servant for the club and I think that he had more left to offer us but he has chosen to go out of his comfort zone and head to Edinburgh.

As rugby players it’s always a nervous time when a contract is coming to an end, although speaking as a ‘one-club man’ I’ve always been lucky enough that there has always been a mutual feeling between myself and the management representing the Dragons at the various times.

Jason has ventured out to Edinburgh to put himself in the shop window and that’s a gutsy move. We all wish him the best of luck.

Having another year left on my contract at Rodney Parade means that I have to start thinking about and discussing my own future at the Dragons around Christmas to see where my future lies.

On the field, we’ve been preparing well for Edinburgh, who are always a tough side and I’d imagine that they will enjoy a bounce from Scotland having a pretty good Six Nations, enjoying wins against Italy and France and turning a few heads with the way that they played.

A lot of what they have achieved at international level has been on the back of a strong set piece and the key members – Dickinson, Ford, Nel – play for Edinburgh.

I am sure their Scotland players will be involved in some shape or form but we have prepped the best that we could possibly and are ready for the challenge.

They are good at what they do and while there is more to them that simply a big presence up front, we know that it will all start in the tight. Stop them at source and we can prevent them from building into their game.

It’s been three weeks without a game for us and to be honest the boys needed a break, mentally more than physically.

We had suffered a run of narrow defeats before heading to Munster and we looked a tired side, so it was good timing to be able to rest the mind.

The problem with such breaks is that you lose a bit of the body-hardening so on that front it was good to get some contact with a unit split and short game against Bristol at Ystrad Mynach. It was more of a conditioning exercise…. But we did win!

Our aim is to start the remaining six games with a solid performance and home win. That being said we will be hoping that Rodney Beach will be in decent shape after another big encounter as Newport host Gwent rivals Cross Keys on the Saturday.

As per usual the weather is turning just as the games start to come about but the pitch I'm sure will be perfectly fine thanks to Mark Jones and his unbelievable groundsmen, who will ensure that the top of the Principality Premiership clash will go ahead and won't affect the Easter Sunday game.

The race for the play-offs is very, very tight and this game has been one in the schedule that has always looked like being a vital one.

Both teams are right in the mix and while defeat won’t mean the end, it will leave a bit of catching up to do and give the winners a boost ahead of our return fixture at Pandy Park the following week.

Momentum is crucial at this time of year and beating Keys would give us Black and Ambers a massive lift with the remaining games to come.

South Wales Argus:

It’s been a tough season for us at the Dragons but a win against Edinburgh would be a big boost ahead of our derby with the Ospreys at Rodney Parade a week on Friday and then our massive European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Gloucester at Kingsholm.

That game with the Cherry and Whites in on the Saturday and, as I’ve written before, we will be holding a special preview evening in the Bisley Suite at Rodney Parade on the Thursday April 7 as part of mine and Ashley Smith’s beneficiary year.

It promises to be a great night with special guests Matthew J Watkins, who used to play for both clubs, and Peter Buxton, who played for Newport RFC and Gloucester, with a few current players floating about.

There will be a two-course carvery meal, entertainment from local band ‘All of the Above’ and fundraising activities for St David's Hospice.

This is one event in particular that Ash and I would like to see the supporters at and enjoy an evening listening to ex-legends’ stories of the game on both sides of the bridge.

To buy tickets or ask for any information, visit, email or contact Kelly Reardon-Brown on 01633 670690.

We had a brilliant event at Celtic Manor during the Six Nations – although I couldn’t be there because it clashed with Munster! – and I am sure it will be a great build-up to a massive game.