Owen Franks wants back in black

He might be 34 and been out of international rugby for a few years but former All Black prop Owen Franks still harbours a desire to play for the All Blacks again.

He might be 34 and been out of international rugby for a few years but former All Black prop Owen Franks still harbours a desire to play for the All Blacks again.

Franks is set to make his debut for the Hurricanes this weekend, having been named on the bench for their Super Rugby Pacific match against the Fijian Drua in Wellington.

The two-time World Cup winner joined the Hurricanes on a two year deal from English club Northampton Saints but tore his achilles pre-season.

Owen Franks is one of ten players to have chalked up a century of tests for the All Blacks. He played the last of his 108 tests against Australia in 2019.

He headed to England after his surprise exclusion from the All Blacks 2019 World Cup squad.

“I was really grateful when I got the contract with the Hurricanes so I could have another crack back in New Zealand…so I am desperate to repay the faith the club has shown in me.”

Seeing players who had recovered from similar injuries return to the field help Franks keep his spirits up.

“It helps when you can Google things and see players who have done similar things….so that’s what I did and found a couple of NFL players who had done similar things and come back in six months or so.”

Sunday’s game against the Drua will be Franks’ first in 14 months – his last was for Northampton against Wasps in the English premiership.

“But I wanted to come back and see if I could still mix with the guys here. Northampton was a great club and I enjoyed the rugby but its different when you know there is no possibility of making the national team – I don’t consider myself in the frame at the moment but its different when you know there is a mountain top to reach and that is hugely motivating,” he said.

“If you are playing rugby in New Zealand and you are eligible for the All Blacks and that’s not your goal then maybe you should re-think why you are playing.”

Owen Franks in action during the All Blacks win over the Wallabies 27 August.

Owen Franks on the burst against the Wallabies in 2016.
Photo: Photosport

For now though its the Hurricanes that is the priority for Franks.

“Physically I feel awesome. When you are an older’s a balancing act, because you get told a lot that you are in your 30’s …so you have got to ignore that to a certain extent because my mindset is fresh and I feel good.

“You do have to adjust your training so you can recover a bit more because you’re not 21 any more and you can get away with going to the gym or going for a run without a warm up.”

A bonus for Franks was that he was going through his rehabilitation alongside former All Black team mate Dane Coles.

Coles who is a year older than Franks at 35, suffered a hamstring injury on the All Blacks end of year tour and hasn’t played a Super Rugby match this year either.

“He (Colesy) is a way better athlete than me but we are cut from the same cloth when it comes to our approach to the game, physicality wise so it’s going to be awesome finally run out on the field again alongside him.”


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