Thursday 14 November 2019

Downey joy over return to Munster

James Downey of Northampton is tackled by Shaun Knight of Gloucester during the Aviva Premiership match between Goucester and Northampton Saints at Kingsholm Stadium on February 11, 2012 in Gloucester, England.
James Downey of Northampton is tackled by Shaun Knight of Gloucester during the Aviva Premiership match between Goucester and Northampton Saints at Kingsholm Stadium on February 11, 2012 in Gloucester, England.

Munster centre James Downey is delighted to be back playing in Ireland after spending five seasons with Northampton Saints.

The 31-year-old, who had a spell with Munster in 2006, having also played for Leinster and Connacht, said he can't wait for the season to start.

Dublin-born Downey, who won an Italian championship with Calvisano before joining Northampton, said a lot has changed since his previous spell with Munster, with only a handful of players such as Ronan O'Gara, Paul O'Connell, Marcus Horan and Peter Stringer remaining.

"It's great to be back home. I enjoyed myself in England, but with Rob Penney and Simon Mannix in control, Munster can build towards big things and I am really happy to be part of the side and looking forward to getting into the season," said Downey.

Downey, who made 148 appearances for Northampton, said the 31-7 loss to La Rochelle on Friday night was largely down to so many players playing together for the first time.

"There was a bit of rustiness there -- but that's what pre-season friendlies are all about, you don't want to be making those mistakes in three weeks' time. Now is the time to try things out and make the mistakes," said Downey, who has signed a two-year contract.

Irish Independent

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