Saints sign New Zealand star Franks

Owen Franks has signed for Saints
Owen Franks has signed for Saints

Double World Cup winner Owen Franks will join Saints this summer.

The 31-year-old tighthead prop has agreed a two-year deal at Franklin's Gardens with the option of another year.

New Zealand star Franks will join from Super Rugby side the Crusaders, following brother Ben to Northampton.

Since making his All Blacks debut in 2009, Franks has notched up more than a century of international caps for his country, lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in 2011 and 2015.

But having not plied his trade outside of New Zealand, Franks is relishing the prospect of a fresh challenge in northern hemisphere rugby.

“I’d like to thank Chris Boyd and Northampton Saints for showing faith in me and giving me this opportunity to come and play in the Gallagher Premiership,” Franks said.

“I’ve always taken a keen interest in northern hemisphere rugby so I’m looking forward to coming to the UK and proving myself, while the prospect of playing at Franklin’s Gardens in front of Northampton’s passionate supporters is hugely exciting for me and my family.

“I’d also like to thank the NZRU and the Crusaders for their continued support, and for allowing me to live out my dream.”

A powerful front rower and dedicated trainer, Franks is renowned for his scrummaging ability – but the tighthead’s work around the field will also impress the Franklin’s Gardens faithful, with his big hits in defence often catching the eye.

Franks also featured for the All Blacks during the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, starting all three Tests where he lined up against future Saints team-mate Courtney Lawes.

And after already securing the signing of New Zealand centre Matt Proctor from the Hurricanes, Saints boss Chris Boyd is thrilled to welcome another player of real pedigree next season.

Boyd said: “Owen is a world-class operator whose record speaks for itself. He not only will improve the quality within our playing squad, but – like his brother – his attitude will set the standard for the entire group.

“His level of professionalism can serve as a fine example for other members of the squad, and he’s a very intelligent footballer – I know several of our young props are already looking forward to picking his brain.

“The fact that he has played with distinction at the highest level of the game for so long speaks volumes about his ability, so I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Owen here to Northampton next season.”