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Irish swoop for Franks

London Irish have announced the signing of New Zealand World Cup winner Ben Franks.

Prop Franks, 30, has agreed a three-year deal and will join Irish from the Wellington-based Hurricanes.

He has won 42 caps and was part of New Zealand's 2011 World Cup-winning squad. Franks has made more than 100 Super Rugby appearances.

" I am really looking forward to joining London Irish," Franks said.

"I have been to have a look around Hazelwood (Irish's training complex) 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, and London Irish also has a link with St Mary's University, where I will be able to study alongside playing rugby for the club.

"There is still work to be done in New Zealand, but my family and I are looking forward to joining the club next season."

Franks' signing comes hot on the heels of Tom Coventry being confirmed as Irish's head coach next season, with rugby director Brian Smith having departed the club.

" Ben is a world-class player, and we are delighted that he has decided to sign with London Irish," Irish's operations director Bob Casey said.

"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."

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