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RUGBY UNION: Griffin's bittersweet homecoming
JOSH Griffin admitted to mixed feelings after finally playing a game of professional rugby in Oxfordshire.
Griffin, who grew up in Witney, started on the wing as Leeds Carnegie lost 19-10 to London Welsh at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium in the Greene King IPA Championship.
The 23-year-old moved up north with his family after older brother Darrell got his big break in rugby league with Wakefield.
Having impressed in the 13-man code himself with Castleford, former Henry Box School pupil Griffin switched back to union with Leeds in 2012.
And although Welsh pipped promotion rivals Leeds on Sunday, Griffin did at least have plenty of ‘home’ support.
“I enjoyed being back,” he said. “It felt good.
“Although obviously today’s game wasn’t one of my strong points.
“It’s nice to come back round here, especially since we stayed in a hotel just outside of Witney in North Leigh.
“It’s funny to hear how the accent sounds, considering that I came from here!
“I had some family at the game, which was nice.
“It was good to see the Witney boys doing their display on the pitch at half-time as well.”
With former England international Darrell playing rugby league for Salford and younger brother George now at London Broncos, the Griffins are clearly a talented family.
And having left Oxfordshire as a teenager, Josh is pleased with how his career has turned out.
“I used to come down to the Kassam Stadium with my uncle as a young kid to watch Oxford United,” he said.
“It was good to play on that pitch myself.”
“I played union for Witney and for Oxfordshire until I left at 14.
“When I went up north, I played union again and then switched codes for six years.
“I am in contract talks with Leeds now, so hopefully I can stay in the union side of it.”
With Welsh and Leeds riding high in the Championship, it is quite possible that Griffin and his teammates could return to the Kassam Stadium in the play-offs with a place in the Premiership at stake.
“I think these two sides are going to be right there at the end of the season,” he said.
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