Rugby World Cup winner Franks to return to New Zealand

·1-min read
Prop Owen Franks has won the Rugby World Cup twice with the All Blacks

Double World Cup winner Owen Franks is to leave Northampton and return to his native New Zealand to play for Super Rugby side the Hurricanes, the English Premiership club announced on Friday.

The 33-year-old prop, who won the last of his 108 caps for the All Blacks in 2019, has been with the Saints for two seasons but injury has restricted his playing time during this campaign.

"It has obviously been a challenging year in light of the pandemic, and also picking up a foot injury," said Franks, who was part of the New Zealand teams that won the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.

"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."

Ben Franks, also a New Zealand international, retired from playing at the end of the 2019/20 season.

Saints' director of rugby Chris Boyd said he sympathised with his fellow New Zealander's decision to leave at the end of the season.

"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 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."