Northampton Saints can today confirm that prop Owen Franks will be leaving the Club at the end of the season to return to New Zealand.
The 33-year-old tighthead has made 24 appearances in his two seasons in Black, Green and Gold, and departs Franklin’s Gardens to pursue a playing opportunity back home with Super Rugby franchise, the Hurricanes.
Franks – one of only 20 players in history to win the Rugby World Cup twice – helped Saints claim their first win on French soil since 2011 and reach the knock-out stages of the Heineken Champions Cup in his debut season with Northampton, but has seen his playing time curtailed this term due to an ongoing foot injury.
“The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but even more so for those living a long way from their family and close friends – I know that first hand,” said Saints’ Director of Rugby, Chris Boyd.
“So, while of course we are disappointed to see Owen leave Northampton, we understand his decision to return to New Zealand with his family, and did not want to stand in his way.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“I want to thank Owen for everything he has done as a Saint; his playing time this season has unfortunately been limited due to injury, but he remains a consummate professional and his experience has been invaluable around our young group – particularly amongst our front rowers – so we wish him the best for the future.”
Franks added: “It was an honour for me to pull on a Northampton jersey and to test myself at the very highest level of Northern Hemisphere rugby.
“It has obviously been a challenging year in light of the pandemic, and also picking up a foot injury, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Saint – particularly competing in Europe and getting the opportunity to play alongside my brother, Ben, one last time.
“I wish the Club every success in the future but this is the right time for me to move on.”