Justin Downey has confirmed exclusively to Sharksworld that he will sign a year’s contract with Griquas later this week.
The 24-year-old Downey, a product of Northwood High in Durban, has been on the fringes of the Sharks squad for a number of years, having featured regularly for the age-group and Vodacom Cup teams. Despite being called up to the Super 14 tour party in 2009 (making the bench for the Reds game, without coming onto the field) and then making 2 Currie Cup appearance the same year, Downey has had few opportunities to impress in Sharks colours in 2010. The versatile back-rower, who is comfortable in any of the three loose-forward positions, was released to Griquas on loan for the latter part of the 2010 Currie Cup season.
In six appearances, he quickly became one of their key players in a campaign unfortunately derailed by injuries and regularly emerged from each round’s Currie Cup fixtures as one of, if not the outright, top tackling players across all teams.
Downey has had to weigh up his options, of late, with the Sharks and Griquas both keen secure his services for the next season. “I’m going to sign with Griquas for a year and just enjoy my rugby,” he tells us. “They’ve given me a good opportunity here and there’s a good chance I could join up with the Cheetahs for Super 15″. At the end of the day, it all comes down to game time at this stage in his career and with Downey unlikely to feature regularly for the Sharks at Super 15 level, given the glut of good loose forwards ahead of him in the pecking order, the opportunity to show what he can do for Griquas and the Cheetahs is too good to pass up.
We’d like to wish Justin all the best for the next season and hope that he might return to the Sharks at some stage in the future.Tweet