Former All Black Ben Franks believes he is starting from the right place after he was confirmed as part of the Scarlets’ new coaching set-up.
The New Zealander has been appointed scrum coach at the region and will work alongside head coach Glenn Delaney’s backroom team, with Richard Kelly promoted to forwards coach from the academy.
Franks, 36 – a double World Cup winner – is in his final season at Northampton and had already chosen to retire at the end of this campaign before the sport went into lockdown.
“Coaching is something I had always planned to do when I finished playing and I was delighted when this opportunity came with the Scarlets,” he said.
“I had always known I was going to retire this season so before the coronavirus I had planned on taking some time off, doing some travelling and upskilling. Glenn then got in touch and it’s an opportunity I’m excited to be taking.
“I have learned a lot from previous coaches and from playing over here for the last four or five years and I’m excited to be working alongside Glenn and the other coaches, who I’m sure will push me and help me develop as a coach.
“There is a great mix of experienced internationals and youth in the squad at the Scarlets. I’m looking forward to linking up with everyone.”
Richard Whiffin will become attack coach as part of Delaney’s team and Dai Flanagan will continue in his role as backs coach.
The reshuffle arose after Brad Mooar’s decision to return to New Zealand and link up with the All Blacks after just one season at Parc Y Scarlets.
Delaney, who joined the Scarlets in the summer as defence coach, was appointed the Scarlets’ new head coach following Mooar’s to return to New Zealand.
Delaney said: “I am delighted to bring Rich Kelly into the senior coaching team after the work he has done with the Academy, A side and the Wales U20s and also to welcome someone of Ben’s calibre to the Scarlets. Both bring a broad skillset to the group along with their detailed set-piece expertise and I am looking forward to seeing them add to our programme.
“Rich is highly respected and has coached in our system for a number of seasons. He has been instrumental in the growth of our young players, a number of whom are stepping up to the senior squad for the coming season.
“Ben’s playing record speaks for itself. He is a double World Cup winner and has close to 50 caps for the All Blacks. I know him well from my days with my original club Linwood back in New Zealand and also with Irish and he is the ultimate professional. He started his senior coaching journey as a player coach with London Irish and has continued to coach club rugby outside of his playing commitments.
“As a group we are excited about coming together when rugby resumes following this lockdown period. We are all looking forward to building on what Brad has put in place this season.”