Northampton Saints sign Blues back Piers Francis
Last Updated: 20/03/17 3:21pm
Northampton have announced the signing of Blues back Piers Francis.
Kent-born Francis, a fly-half or centre, headed to New Zealand eight years ago and was part of the Auckland Academy before moving on to play in the National Provincial Championship and then Super Rugby.
He has played in all four rounds of this year's Super Rugby competition, and he will move to Saints ahead of next season.
Francis, meanwhile, is likely to be part of the Blues squad set to face the British and Irish Lions in Auckland on June 7.
"I will always be thankful for my opportunities in New Zealand and to Tana Umaga for giving me my chance with Counties Manukau and with the Blues," Francis told the Northampton website.
"It's been a brilliant time for me in Auckland, but I'm now excited by the prospect of joining the Saints and getting to grips with the Aviva Premiership.
"Northampton is a massive club that's known the world over and I'm joining a team with a huge amount of talent. It's going to be brilliant to be training and playing alongside the calibre of players in the squad."
Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder added: "Piers is a player who has been very impressive over the past couple of years. He is a very good playmaker who is comfortable with ball in hand, but who can also control a match with his kicking game, too.
"He has all the talent and temperament that it takes to be a success in the Premiership, and we are looking forward to him joining us later in the year."