by Brendan Cole

Northampton Saints centre James Downey will join Munster on a two-year deal at the end of the current season.

The inside centre has played 135 games for Saints, scoring 12 tries, since joining from Calvisano in 2007.

He was a part of the Saints team that made the Heineken Cup final last year and lined out against Munster in both of the Heineken Cup matches this season.

The Dublin native had a trial stint with Munster in 2006 during which he lined out three times for the province. He moved on from there to a spell with Calvisano which included an Italian Championship win.

He was a Churchill Cup winner with Ireland Wolfhounds (‘A’) in 2009 and European Challenge Cup with Northampton in the same year, he has also played for Clontarf, Connacht and Leinster.

Munster coach Tony McGahan said: "James is a quality player who has been on our radar for some time now. We've seen at first hand, on several occasions in recent times in the Heineken Cup exactly what he has to offer and believe that his style and his attitude can only enhance our squad."

Munster are reported to be pursuing another signing in the centre with former New Zealand international Casey Laulala thought to be in the frame.