Dowson: Door is never closed for brilliant Saintsman Grayson

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Phil Dowson says 'the door is never closed' for James Grayson at Saints, paying tribute to the 'brilliant Saintsman' ahead of his move to Japan.

Grayson requested to leave the club due to a lack of game time, and after his wish was granted he informed his team-mates earlier this week, giving an impassioned speech.

The fly-half will say goodbye to supporters at half-time of Sunday's Gallagher Premiership game against Exeter Chiefs at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens.

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And Dowson has nothing but good things to say about the 25-year-old, who has gone from boy to man in black, green and gold.

“James approached us with the opportunity to go and play somewhere,” Dowson explained. “He was frustrated at the lack of minutes.

“We've obviously got a lot of talent in that particular space.

“The first thing you'd say about Jimmy is that he's Saints through and through.

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“He's always been Saints first, he's always been associated with the club, he's been a brilliant Saintsman.

James Grayson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)James Grayson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
James Grayson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“On and off the pitch, he's been fantastic.

“For him to achieve some of the things he wants to achieve and to explore different opportunities is the right thing for him.

“We came to an agreement with Jimmy to make sure he can go and take advantage of those opportunities.”

Fin Smith is Saints' first-choice fly-half, with George Furbank able to provide more than useful back-up.

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And the club will now draft in a loan player to bolster their ranks.

“We've got cover and hence why Jimmy is frustrated and feels like he needs to move away from a club he loves,” Dowson said.

“I've got no doubt that he's absolutely passionate about the Saints, about the people within the organisation.

“He spoke very passionately to the group and the staff about what it means to be a Saintsman for him.

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“I wish him absolutely all the best and as we spoke about with other players, the door's never closed.

"But at this point, he feels he needs to go elsewhere to get what he wants from his career.

“We look forward to watching him, following him and supporting him.”