Aviva Premiership: London Irish sign New Zealand World Cup winner Ben Franks
Last Updated: 20/01/15 11:59am
London Irish have signed New Zealand World Cup winner Ben Franks on a three-year contract.
Prop Franks, 30, who joins from the Wellington-based Hurricanes, won 42 international caps and was part of the All Blacks' 2011 World Cup-winning squad.
"I am really looking forward to joining London Irish," said Franks, who has made more than 100 Super Rugby appearances in his career.
"I have been to have a look around Hazelwood (Irish's training complex) and was very impressed with the set-up. After speaking to the board and seeing the facilities, the ambition of the club is clear.
"It is a family-friendly club, which played a big part in my decision to move my family over, and London Irish also has a link with St Mary's University, where I will be able to study alongside playing rugby for the club.
"There is still work to be done in New Zealand, but my family and I are looking forward to joining the club next season."
Franks' signing comes hot on the heels of Tom Coventry being confirmed as Irish's head coach next season. Coventry is the current assistant boss of Hurricanes' New Zealand rivals the Chiefs and comes in after rugby director Brian Smith returned home to Australia.
"Ben is a world-class player and we are delighted he has decided to sign with London Irish," Irish's operations director Bob Casey said.
"He is a family man with great rugby values and it's a real statement of intent that a player of his class and experience has signed, and shows the ambition of the club and our owners."