- DOB20 Jun 1990
Arriving in Northampton at the start of the 2017/18 season, Piers Francis reached his 50th appearance in Black, Green and Gold just three terms later.
After heading to New Zealand as an 18-year-old to develop his game, Francis caught the eye of the Auckland Academy and was soon gaining experience in the Mitre 10 Cup for Auckland and Waikato. A stint in Edinburgh was book-ended by Francis' time in New Zealand with the centre quickly impressing for Tana Umaga’s Counties Manukau on his return – so much so that he was drafted into the Blues’ Super Rugby squad for 2016 where he earned 'Rookie of the Year' for his 11 appearances there.
Between leaving New Zealand and arriving at Franklin's Gardens, Francis was called into the England squad to tour Argentina in 2017 – making his debut from the bench in the first Test.
A few months later, the centre – who is also comfortable at fly-half – made his Saints debut against Gloucester Rugby in October that year, the first of the 21 appearances Francis would make that term. But it was to be in the following campaign that Francis would play his most rugby to date, featuring some 23 times as Saints reached the knock-out stages of every competition and starting both the Gallagher Premiership semi-final at Exeter Chiefs and Premiership Rugby Cup final where Saints downed Saracens to lift the trophy on home soil.
And his strong performances that campaign would earn Francis a call-up to the England squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, feature in four warm-up games and start against the USA in Japan as England reached the final of the competition.
Injury and the COVID-19 pandemic would disrupt Francis' 2019/20 season but the centre still managed to hit a milestone with the Club as he made his 50th Saints appearance against London Irish that term.