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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Montgomery quits Wales for Sharks
Percy Montgomery
Born: Walvis Bay, Namibia, 15-03-74
Caps: 61
SA debut: Lions, 28-06-97
Last cap: Scotland, 27-11-04
Newport Gwent Dragons back Percy Montgomery has signed a two-year deal with Natal Sharks to return to his native South Africa.

Montgomery will join the Super 12 side officially on 1 June, but Springbok duties mean he is unlikely to play for the Sharks until after the Tri Nations.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my rugby in Wales, but this is a great opportunity back home," he told the Sharks website.

"I am looking forward to playing for the Sharks, it will be a huge honour."

Montgomery left South Africa and Western Province in 2002 to join Newport RFC.

The 31-year-old has been one of the key figures as the club became part of the Newport Gwent Dragons during Wales' shift to regional rugby.

Last July Montgomery signed an extension with the Dragons that was meant to keep him at Rodney Parade until 2007.

But the upheaval at the region, with coach Chris Anderson leaving after just one season and benefactor Tony Brown about to pull out, has left a very different climate.

Montgomery will continue to play for the Dragons until the end of their season, depending on how far they progress in the Celtic Cup competition, and will then return to South Africa.

I would like to thank the coaches and players who have supported me and especially the fans in Wales
Percy Montgomery

"My family and I have enjoyed the time we have spent at Newport, but we are very excited about going to KwaZulu Natal," Montgomery added.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the administrators, coaches and players who have supported me and especially the fans in Wales."

Former Wales inside centre Andy Marinos, who resigned as the Dragons chief executive this month, has also been widely tipped for a role in the Natal set-up.

Marinos was a surprise appointment to Dragons chief executive at the end of last season, the former captain taking the role immediately after the end of his playing career.



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