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Competition for Court as London Irish sign up All Black prop Ben Franks

The 42-Test All Black has signed a three-year contract with the Premiership club.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

PREMIERSHIP CLUB LONDON Irish have today announced the signing of the versatile New Zealand prop Ben Franks on a three-year deal from the start of next season.

The 42-Test All Black (the older brother of tighthead Owen) is able to operate on both sides of the scrum, but has played primarily as a loosehead since the advent of an eighth replacement on the bench.

Irish international Tom Court is currently enjoying a run of starts in the Irish number one jersey while Halani Aulika and Geoff Cross share minutes at tighthead. So the arrival of the Kiwi will give the 2013 Lion some competition for his starting place next term.

“Ben is a world class player and we are delighted that he has decided to sign with London Irish,” says director of operations Bob Casey.

“He is a family man with great rugby values.  It is 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.”

In the same statement, the 30-year-old Franks said: “I am really looking forward to joining London Irish. I have been to have a look around Hazelwood 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. London Irish also has a link with St Mary’s University where I will be able to study alongside playing rugby for the Club.”

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Sean Farrell

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