Former All Black Ben Franks to retire at end of season


London (AFP)

Former All Black Ben Franks will retire from professional rugby at the end of the 2019/20 season, English Premiership club Northampton announced on Monday.

The 35-year-old prop earned 47 caps for New Zealand, winning the World Cup in 2011 and 2015.

He plays with his younger brother, Owen Franks, at Northampton. The pair also played together for the All Blacks.

"I am proud to be a Saint and very grateful to have had the opportunity to finish my playing days here in Northampton," said Franks.

"But the end of this season is the right time for me call time on my career. I've loved my journey in rugby, from playing back home in New Zealand, to representing the All Blacks alongside my brother, and then coming over here to experience the challenge of the English Premiership.

"I've also really enjoyed having the chance to run out with Owen again here at Franklin's Gardens."

Franks played Super Rugby for the Crusaders and the Hurricanes, twice winning the title with the Crusaders. He moved to England to play for London Irish in 2015 and joined Northampton in 2018.

He made his Test debut for New Zealand in 2010 against Ireland alongside Owen.

"Ben's had an incredible professional career that has spanned over 15 years, and amongst all the players I’ve ever coached, he is right up there amongst the most professional of them all," said Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd.