London - Northampton have signed versatile back Piers Francis from New Zealand outfit the Blues, the English Premiership club announced on Monday.
England-born Francis moved to New Zealand eight years ago and came through the youth ranks at Auckland before playing in the National Provincial Championship and then Super Rugby.
The uncapped 26-year-old will join up with Northampton in time for the start of the next Premiership season.
"I will always be thankful for my opportunities in New Zealand and to Tana Umaga for giving me my chance with Counties Manukau and with the Blues," Francis said, in comments published on the Northampton website.
"It's been a brilliant time for me in Auckland, but I'm now excited by the prospect of joining the Saints and getting to grips with the Aviva Premiership.
"Northampton is a massive club that's known the world over and I'm joining a team with a huge amount of talent. It's going to be brilliant to be training and playing alongside the calibre of players in the squad."