Northampton Saints can today announce that New Zealand’s Owen Franks will join the Club from the Canterbury-based Crusaders.
One of only 20 players to win the Rugby World Cup twice, the 31-year-old tighthead prop follows brother Ben to Franklin’s Gardens after making almost 150 appearances in the Super Rugby competition.
"The prospect of playing at Franklin’s Gardens in front of Northampton’s passionate supporters is hugely exciting for me and my family."Owen Franks
Since making his All Blacks debut in 2009, Franks has notched up over a century of international caps for his country, lifting the Webb Ellis Cup twice along the way – on home soil in 2011 and then at Twickenham in 2015.
But having never before 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,” he 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.
"He has played at the highest level of the game for such a long time, which speaks volumes about his ability."Chris Boyd
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 teammate Courtney Lawes.
And, after already securing the signing of Matt Proctor from the Hurricanes, Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd is thrilled to welcome another player of Franks’ pedigree next season.
He 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.”