IRISH SCRUM-HALF James Hart has signed a new contract with Top 14 club Grenoble, keeping him in the Rhône-Alpes region until 2017.
The 22-year-old had been on an ‘Espoirs’ contract (similar to the development contracts in Ireland) until 2015, but has now been upgraded to a senior professional contract until 2017.
Hart’s excellent form this season meant Grenoble were eager to tie the versatile goal-kicking halfback to a more permanent deal. The former Clontarf RFC man famously outshone Jonny Sexton in the Top 14 three weeks ago, scoring 16 points as Grenoble pulled off a shock victory.
Hart has appeared off the bench in both of his team’s Amlin Challenge Cup games since then, clocking up 50 minutes of game time including a showing on the wing against Bayonne.
In total, Hart has made nine appearances in the Top 14, with five of those in the starting team. He has scored one try, eight penalties and four conversions in that time, also picking up a harsh yellow card for slapping down a pass against Clermont this season. Hart’s five other professional appearances have been in the Challenge Cup.
Interestingly, the official statement on Grenoble’s website points out that Hart is “French-Irish” and indeed, his mother is a Toulouse native. However, there will be an increasingly close eye on the hard-working youngster from these shores as his development picks up speed.
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