WORLD Cup winning prop Ben Franks has asked for a release from his contract at the Crusaders, and coach Todd Blackadder says he understands the decision.
The 28-year-old All Black is the third-ranked prop at the Crusaders behind Wyatt Crockett and brother Owen Franks.
It is understood by APNZ that he is keen to move south to the Highlanders.
He has played 18 tests for the All Blacks, and is contracted to the red-and-blacks through to the end of next year.
“This isn’t because he doesn’t like the Crusaders or anything but he has asked us to consider it and we’ve said yes we will,” Blackadder told Radio Sport .
The Crusaders rotated the three props throughout their disappointing season, which saw them knocked out of contention by the Chiefs in the semifinals.
Blackadder has since said rotation may not be the best option.
“We’re not sure whether the whole rotation thing works itself … , we’re not sure it creates the hunger that is needed.