All Blacks: Owen Franks to join Northampton Saints after Rugby World Cup

All Blacks prop Owen Franks has confirmed he will leave New Zealand rugby at the end of the 2019 season.

The 31-year-old will join older brother Ben at the Northampton Saints on an undisclosed deal.

Since making his All Blacks debut in 2009, Franks has notched up 106 test caps (scoring no tries), lifting the Webb Ellis Cup twice along the way - on home soil in 2011 and then at Twickenham in 2015.

"The Crusaders, All Blacks and Canterbury rugby have been a big part of my life - and my family's lives - for more than a decade now, and I'm grateful for every opportunity I've had to live my dream in those jerseys," Franks said.

"New Zealand will always be home, but Northampton presents a great opportunity for me to test myself in a new rugby environment and reconnect with family there.

"While I know I'll look back at the end of my time in New Zealand with an immense amount of pride, I still have a lot I want to achieve this year and some big goals to tick off before I leave."

Franks is the second All Black to sign with the club this year, after Northampton confirmed the signing of one-test international Matt Proctor last month.

Former North Harbour duo Ken Pisi and Nafi Tuitavake are also contracted to the Saints, while their coach is former Hurricanes boss Chris Boyd. 

"Owen is a world-class operator, whose record speaks for itself," said Boyd. "He not only will improve the quality within our playing squad, but like his brother, his attitude will set the standard for the entire group.

"His level of professionalism can serve as a fine example for other members of the squad and he's a very intelligent footballer. I know several of our young props are already looking forward to picking his brain.

"The fact that he has played with distinction at the highest level of the game for so long speaks volumes about his ability, so I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Owen here to Northampton next season."

Franks adds to the growing list of All Blacks who will leave at the end of the year, with  Ben Smith and Nehe Milner-Skudder both bound for France, while uncapped Crusaders loosie Jordan Taufua has signed with English club Leicester.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read has been linked with a move to Japan, along with centre Ryan Crotty and flanker Liam Squire.

Meanwhile, Rugby Pass is reporting that All Blacks Winger Waisake Naholo has signed a deal to play for London Irish, which is due to be announced in coming weeks.