Former All Blacks prop Ben Franks has signed for Northampton Saints from Premiership rivals London Irish.
The 34-year-old will arrive at Franklins Gardens at the end of the current season after spending two seasons with London Irish. Franks will be linking up with former Hurricanes coach and soon to be Saints boss Chris Boyd, who is thought to have had a significant hand in securing Franks' signature.
Two-times World Cup winner Franks brings a wealth of experience, with 47 international caps to his name and a lengthy Super Rugby career with both the Crusaders and the Hurricanes.
The Melbourne-born prop is a rare commodity, able to play at both loosehaed and tighthead, but specialises in the latter.
“I’m delighted to be joining Saints at such an exciting junction for the club,” he said.
“Linking up with Chris Boyd once again was of course a big factor in this decision; I remember him as a gifted and hardworking coach, and I know he will be desperate to make a fast start in England as he did in Wellington with the Hurricanes.
“I still feel like I have a lot to offer in the Aviva Premiership, and having experienced the Franklin’s Gardens atmosphere first-hand, I can’t wait to run out for Northampton every week.
“Seeing the facilities at the Club and looking at some of the quality players that have been brought in for next season, the ambition of Saints is clear, and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”
CEO Mark Darbon admits securing the signature of a player with Franks’ experience is a big positive for Saints.
He said: “We are absolutely delighted Ben has decided to join Saints from next season. He is a versatile player with a proven ability at the very highest level, and I’m also certain that some of our younger props can learn a vast amount from him.”