Rugby Championship

Protein-packed marriage for All Blacks' next centurion

2018-08-24 12:34
Owen Franks (Getty)

Wellington - No tries in 99 Tests for Owen Franks - no worries. Possibly not enough food for the big man at his wedding - now that's serious. 

On the eve of Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against Australia, the All Blacks legend revealed he even took a protein shake to his own wedding to make sure he "wasn't going to get hungry". 

The outwardly genial but inwardly hard Franks will become the All Blacks' ninth centurion with his milestone 100th Test at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday. 

Stories about the All Blacks front-row rock are the stuff of legend, but as coach Steve Hansen tells it, what makes the tighthead prop stand out is his professionalism. 

"He's a 120 percenter. Not many people would go to their wedding and get their wife to have a protein shake in her pocket. He's a dedicated athlete," said Hansen. 

Franks gave his own version of the story, saying: "I take food pretty seriously. 

"I wasn't 100 percent sure that the caterer would have enough food so I pre-packaged the protein shake just to make sure I wasn't going to get hungry during all the speeches." 

He already has one notable record to his name, having played more games than anyone else in Test history without scoring a try. 

Hansen said Franks "doesn't give a stuff" about not scoring but he has set "massive standards" on how to prepare for a match. 

"He's risen the bar in this team without having to say too much." 

All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett described the 1.85m, 119kg prop as the "hardest working" member of the All Blacks. 

Franks' Crusaders and All Blacks team-mate Codie Taylor calls him "the ultimate professional" and recalls watching Owen and All Blacks brother Ben Franks trading punches during a tense training session. 

"I was pretty blown away by it; I thought, 'Jeez, this guy doesn't take a backward step even to his own blood'. That was pretty impressive, actually, and it set the standard for what he was about." 

Franks added: "We're both horrible fighters and probably missed with every punch we threw." 

The Franks brothers are close and the morning after winning the 2011 World Cup final, while most of the All Blacks were sleeping off their celebrations, they were in the gym before the sun was up lifting weights together.

Owen Franks, who lists his best memories of being an All Black as "just turning up and training every day", would be happy with minimum fuss over his 100th Test - but he did receive a text from his equally taciturn brother. 

"He said something along the lines of that he was proud of me and that, and he said 'don't text back because it would be awkward'. That's probably the most emotional we've ever got."


New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitute: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown


15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Folau Faingaa, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks


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