All Blacks duo set to join Boyd at Northampton
TRANSFER TALK: Two fellow New Zealanders could be on their way to join Chris Boyd in Northampton, according to media reports.
The Rugby Paper reported that both Ben Franks and Jeremy Thrush have been linked with moves to Franklin’s Gardens following the announcement that the Hurricanes head coach would be taking over the reins in 2018/19 and the pair would bring valuable experience to the East Midlands.
Franks, 33-years-old, is a double Rugby World Cup-winner, having lifted the trophy with New Zealand in 2011 and 2015, and has spent the last three seasons with London Irish. With the Exiles inching closer and closer to the drop, any chance they had of retaining him beyond this season seems to be slipping away.
He is, however, the most penalised player in the Premiership so far this season, conceding 26 penalties. Many of those penalties are scrum penalties, where the fault cannot be solely attributed to him, but it is something Saints will be keen to monitor should they secure his signature this summer.
Thrush, 32, accrued 11 caps for the All Blacks before also making the move north to England in 2015, joining Gloucester, where he has spent the last three seasons. The lock had seemed close to a move to France and the Top 14 this summer, but the arrival of his former head coach at Northampton could be enough to change his mind.
With Heinrich Brüssow also having arrived in January, there will be no shortage of veteran experience in the Northampton pack next season should Franks and Thrush be snapped up.
Boyd has a good track record at the Hurricanes of developing the next generation of talent and building a squad around a homegrown core of players, so it will be interesting to see if this is a new approach or just short-term additions to mentor the younger players at Northampton and help ensure a more seamless transition.