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Ben Franks commits to London Irish despite their relegation

New Zealand international prop Ben Franks has committed his future to London Irish.

Franks, a double World Cup winner, joined the Exiles on a three-year deal last summer.

But speculation had been rife about him potentially moving to an Aviva Premiership club, particularly following Irish's relegation from the top flight.

The 32-year-old was injured for most of Irish's Premiership run-in, which ended with the Exiles finishing seven points behind 11th-placed Newcastle.

"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," said 45 times-capped Franks, in a statement released by Irish.

"I am 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."

Irish head of rugby operations Glenn Delaney, meanwhile, described Franks confirming his Exiles future as "a real statement of intent."

Delaney added: " 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 talents coming through the ranks at present, and his experience and know-how, 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."

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