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Townsend signs for Sharks

Scottish International Gregor Townsend has signed to play for The Sharks in the 2004 Super 12 Season.

Townsend recently retired from international rugby after the World Cup with 82 caps.

The Sharks who have not won a major trophy since 1996 are determined to return to winning ways. Coach Kevin Putt said to Sky Sports,

"Gregor's signing does not reflect a lack of interest in the local scene, or that we didn't look internally," said Putt, "but there is just nothing available.

"In the future we will certainly look within the system, but the time factor was against us."

Putt has brought in Townsend primarily to cover at stand-off for Butch James but his versatility will prove invaluable.

"He has survived at the top of the game for so long that the players will learn a lot from him", admitted Putt. "He has been pulled in as support at number 10, but his versatility is his strong point. His tactical control of the game and his experience in different methods of play added to the fact that he can cover any of fly-half, inside and outside centre and fullback make him such an important factor.

"It comes down to his experience, what he brings to the team and that he has survived many years in the top echelons of rugby."