Ben Franks has announced that he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current season.

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Northampton Saints prop Franks, 35, has played 37 times for the club since arriving in 2018 after a three-year spell at London Irish, where he won a Premiership Rugby Cup in his first season.

He also won 47 caps for New Zealand during an international career which saw him win World Cup titles in 2011 and 2015.

“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.

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“I’ve also really enjoyed having the chance to run out with Owen again here at Franklin’s Gardens, and I’ll of course be following the club’s progress in the coming years as he continues to play on in Northampton.

“I could not have achieved everything I have in rugby without the support of my wife, Genna, as well as my family, friends and of course my teammates. To them all, I am incredibly thankful.”

Before arriving in the Premiership, Franks played 130 Super Rugby games for the Crusaders and the Hurricanes, winning titles with the former in 2006 and 2008.

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After winning his first All Blacks cap in 2010 against Ireland, where he packed down alongside his brother, Owen, they become only the second pair of brothers to represent the All Blacks.

Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd added: “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.

“He has always just put his nose down and worked as hard as he can to be the best he can be. He’s a double World Cup winner and has had an illustrious career in New Zealand and then here in the UK.

“His attention to detail is extraordinary, so he’ll be really missed by us because he sets the example for all the other guys.”

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