|Club / Province:
|Date of Birth:
||104Kg / 16st 5
Test debut v Canada on summer tour 2013
James won a Leinster Schools Senior Cup with Belvedere College before making his debut for Leinster in 2003. The following season James moved to Connacht in a bid to secure more gametime however a series of injuries meant he only represented the province on 3 occasions before being released from his contract in 05/06.
James then went on trial to Munster during the 06/07 season however his gametime was limited and when Italian side Rugby Calvisano offered him a contract and a guarantee of 1XV gametime, he moved to Italy at the start of the 07/08 season. That spell in Italy worked well for Downey as it got him the gametime he needed and when Northampton offered him a contract ahead of the 08/09 season, despite the fact that they had just been relegated from the Premiership, James knew their spell in the Championship would be short lived and he made the move to England.
His time at Northampton saw him build his game and he became one of the most dependable defenders and potent attackers in the Premiership. He was instrumental in securing promotion for Saints for 08/09 season.
In their first season back in the top flight, Saints won the European Challenge Cup and powered their way up the Premiership table.
In a bid to secure test rugby James rejoined Munster ahead of the 2012/13 season and he earned his first senior test cap in the Summer of 2013 against Canada.
A powerful attacking runner, James has cut out a reputation as someone who is very hard to stop with ball in hand.