29 June 2016
London Irish have been given a major boost ahead of the 2016-17 season with the news that double World Cup-winning prop Ben Franks has committed his future to the club.
Capped 45 times by the All Blacks, the 32-year-old joined Irish on a three-year deal from Super Rugby side Hurricanes last summer, and is itching to help the club bounce back to the Aviva Premiership.
Now fighting fit after a three month injury lay-off which saw the tight-head miss a series of crucial games before returning to first team affairs for the penultimate Premiership clash at home to Harlequins, Franks is looking forward to a full pre-season programme.
“Once I’d had a few weeks away to clear my mind, my gut feeling was not to miss out on an opportunity and I’m here ready to work hard,” Franks told LITV.
He added: “I’m excited at the prospect of getting a solid pre-season under my belt mainly because I have not done one for many years. The last time I did a pre-season was when I was 23 – I’m 32 now and being an All Black you don’t get the opportunity to do a full summer programme.
“The last two or three weeks before we came back for pre-season, I was just eager to get started.”
Delighted that Franks has pinned his colours to the Exiles, Head of Rugby Operations Glenn Delaney said: “Ben is a world-class player and his experience in the pack will be vital as we look to make an immediate return to the Premiership.
“We have a number of exciting young talent coming through the ranks at present and his experience and knowhow both on and off the field will be invaluable.
“It’s a real statement of intent, and underlines the ambition of the club and the owners.”
Click here to watch the full interview.
The following players have joined the club for the 2016-17 season:- Sebastian De Chaves (Leicester Tigers), Dave Porecki (Saracens), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton), Ollie Hoskins (Western Force), Max Northcote-Green (Bath Rugby), Tommy Bell (Leicester Tigers), Mike Coman (Edinburgh Rugby), James Marshall (The Hurricanes)