Aussie league ace joins Exiles

London Irish have raided Australian rugby league for their latest signing - Penrith Panthers centre Paul Franze. [more]

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London Irish have raided Australian rugby league for their latest signing – Penrith Panthers centre Paul Franze.

Franze, who joined Penrith from their NRL rivals Cronulla Sharks earlier this year, will link up with the Exiles next month when his current rugby league commitments finish.

He has agreed a two-year contract, and will look to make an immediate impact in the Premiership after recovering from a serious knee injury.

"I wanted to play top-class rugby union, and decided to join London Irish because I was excited by the club’s ambition," he said.

Franze, 23, has played for Australia’s Junior Kangaroos representative side, with more than 60 NRL appearances under his belt.

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"Paul is a dynamic runner and a lethal defender," said Exiles rugby director Brian Smith.

"He will fit in with our other powerful backs Scott Staniforth, Dominic Feau’nati, Rodd Penney and James Storey, and I have no doubt he will make a big impression in the Premiership."

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