All Blacks legend Franks to join Hurricanes

By Sports Desk May 14, 2021

New Zealand legend Owen Franks is returning to his homeland to join the Hurricanes on a two-year deal.

The two-time Rugby World Cup winner moved to England in 2019 for a spell with Northampton Saints.

Former Crusaders prop Franks is on the move again after deciding to resume his Super Rugby career.

"I'm excited to be getting back into Super Rugby next year with the Hurricanes after time in the UK," he said.

"My family and I are looking forward to a new challenge and being back in New Zealand and closer to friends and family is also important.

"I am very motivated to play at the highest level again and I am looking forward to working with the Hurricanes players and coaching teams and pushing for success in 2022 and 2023."

Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland said of Franks: "His record speaks for itself and what he has been able to achieve is a measure of his quality and professionalism.

"Owen's experience will be invaluable, not just for the younger players in our squad but our group as a whole."

Franks played 108 times for New Zealand in a stellar Test career.

Related items

  • Rio Dyer insists Wales will keep ‘chasing that perfection’ at World Cup Rio Dyer insists Wales will keep ‘chasing that perfection’ at World Cup

    Rio Dyer says that Wales will aim to keep a collective foot on the accelerator as they build towards their fourth successive Rugby World Cup quarter-final appearance.

    Wales’ place in the last eight was confirmed through a record 40-6 win against Australia.

    They require only a point from next Saturday’s appointment with Georgia in Nantes to guarantee finishing top of Pool C.

    Japan or Argentina, who meet in what is effectively a group eliminator 24 hours after Wales tackle Georgia, are then set to await Warren Gatland’s team as quarter-final opponents.

    “We taken learnings from every game previously, and we are chasing that perfection,” Wales wing Dyer said.

    “Every game won’t be perfect, but there are things we can get better at. It is about not letting the foot off the gas and see how far we can push ourselves.

    “Let the result take care of itself, because I am more than sure if we put the effort in during the week and take the learnings, we will get even better and hopefully top the group.

    “The training we have been putting in is amazing. The competitiveness of the sessions has been phenomenal.

    “No-one is sulking or moping about. We are a 33-man squad trying to get the same result, and everyone is helping everyone.”

    Twelve of Wales’ World Cup group were involved when Georgia claimed an historic 13-12 victory in Cardiff during last year’s autumn internationals.

    It came just eight months after Wales had lost at home to Italy, and effectively signalled the end for Gatland’s head coach predecessor Wayne Pivac.

    A home loss to Australia the following weekend – Wales conceded 26 unanswered points after leading 34-13 – sealed his fate, before Gatland returned for a second stint in the job.

    “They’re a good team,” Dyer said of Georgia. “They bring qualities throughout their forwards and backs.

    “They have got very good players all around the park. Hopefully, we can put in a performance that we have put in during these three (pool) games and get the result against them.”

    Dyer and company returned to the training pitch on Friday following four days off after the Australia match, with the majority of players enjoying French sightseeing, while some briefly returned home.

    “Mason (Grady) and myself had a nice day around Paris on the bikes, then we went to Disneyland Paris together on a two-man mission. We went on all the rides there – I felt like a kid again,” he said.

    Flanker Taine Basham, meanwhile, had time at home, adding: “I went back home to see the little one. He is nearly walking now, so no days off.

    “He was keeping me busy, so I was not just laying back on the sofa waiting to go back out to France.

    “I am getting better sleep out here, there is no doubt, but I can’t wait to see him again in the next couple of weeks.”

  • Pretty much a World Cup final – Darcy Graham and Scotland ready for Ireland Pretty much a World Cup final – Darcy Graham and Scotland ready for Ireland

    Darcy Graham insisted Scotland are ready to “go to a dark place” as they bid to defy recent history in their mouth-watering qualification shootout with Ireland in Paris.

    The Scots secured the bonus-point win they required against Romania with a 12-try, 84-0 destruction of the eastern European minnows.

    To progress to the last eight Gregor Townsend’s side must defeat Ireland in next Saturday’s final Pool B fixture, either with a bonus point or by denying the world’s top-ranked side a losing bonus.

    The Scots have won only one of the last 13 meetings between the sides and have lost the last eight, but Graham is adamant his team – ranked fifth in the world – are ready to dig deep for what would be one of the biggest wins in their history.

    “It’s winner takes all, we want to get out of the group and they want to get out of the group so both teams will be going for it,” said the prolific Scotland wing. “It’s going to be a hell of a game.

    “It’s do or die now, it’s pretty much a World Cup final for us. We’ll take huge confidence from Romania and now we need to get our preparation right.

    “We’re going to have to go to a dark place but the boys are up for it. It’s an exciting week. There’s going to be massive support from Scotland and Ireland fans so there’s going to be a real buzz going into this game.”

    In their last meeting in the Six Nations in March, Scotland led briefly in the first half and were within a point of the Irish until Andy Farrell’s men pulled away to win 22-7 at Murrayfield.

    Scotland have shown for long periods of their three matches against France this year that they can live with the top teams in the world.

    “We’ve got the capabilities to beat any team in the world but we have to get things right not just for 40 minutes or 60 minutes, but for 80 minutes,” Graham said.

    “We have to take our opportunities when they come. We might only get two or three opportunities and we have to nail them.”

    Graham’s four-try haul against Romania elevated him from sixth to joint-second on Scotland’s all-time try-scoring list. He is now level with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger on 24 and just three shy of record-holder Stuart Hogg, who retired this year on 27.

    “Yeah, I’m closing in on it but I’ll get there when I get there,” he said. “I’ve added four on to my tally so I’m happy.”

    Grant Gilchrist – who captained the Scots against Romania – has no doubt his long-time Edinburgh club-mate will soon break the record.

    “If I was a betting man, I’d say yes,” said the lock.

    “He was outstanding against Romania. I’ve played a lot of games with him for Scotland and Edinburgh and you know exactly what you’re going to get with him week in, week out.

    “Some of the tries he scored were world-class, and I’m sure he’ll keep doing that as long as he plays.”

    Scotland scored six tries in each half against Romania in a match that saw them fall just five points short of their record World Cup victory, 89-0 against the Ivory Coast in 1995.

    Gilchrist said: “We knew we needed five points but we needed more than that, we needed a performance that was a step forward for us as a group, and I think we got that.

    “We know everybody will big up next weekend, it’s huge. Our preparation will reflect that and we’ll give absolutely everything.”

  • Gregor Townsend hails Scotland for keeping World Cup bid alive after early loss Gregor Townsend hails Scotland for keeping World Cup bid alive after early loss

    Gregor Townsend praised Scotland for bouncing back emphatically from their South Africa defeat to score 19 tries in back-to-back victories over Tonga and Romania and set up a World Cup Pool B shootout with Ireland for a place in the quarter-finals.

    The Scots have been playing must-win rugby since losing their opener to the Boks, and after beating Tonga 45-17 last weekend, they pulled off another bonus-point win by defeating Romania 84-0 in Lille on Saturday.

    The past two results mean Townsend’s team now have a chance to qualify for the last eight if they defeat Ireland in Paris next Saturday night either with a bonus point or by denying Andy Farrell’s side a losing bonus.

    “I’m really pleased with the way they’ve bounced back,” said the head coach. “A lot of hard work has gone in at training. We had a two-week break between South Africa and Tonga and we had three very tough, physical sessions in the heat.

    “The players trained really well this week as well so they’re putting in the hard yards that is required to then play at a level where you can score the amount of tries we’ve scored in the last two games, where we’ve been able to set up this shootout game with Ireland.

    “The credit goes to the players for how they’ve worked in training and in the matches against Tonga and Romania. Both games were very physical and you’ve got to win that physical battle, which we did.”

    Darcy Graham climbed from sixth on Scotland’s all-time try-scoring list to joint-second by touching down four times in the 12-try romp against Romania. The Edinburgh wing leapfrogged Duhan van der Merwe and Chris Paterson and is now level with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger on 24, just three shy of record-holder Stuart Hogg.

    “I think he’s someone who will create opportunities to score tries because of his willingness to get on the ball,” said Townsend. “He called a lot of the balls because he got back off the ground to be in position.

    “He saw space and he also is a great finisher. His footwork for the fourth try was incredible. He had a couple of assists as well, so he certainly plays for the team.

    “In the last two games, Darcy’s really gone for it and we’ve seen that in training. Sometimes it’s tough when you’re a winger and you’ve not had the game time he would have liked after he picked up that little niggle over the summer but he’s now flying and that’s brilliant to see.”

    Graham was one of only a few first-choice players to start against Romania as Townsend made 13 changes with Ireland in mind. The head coach was pleased with the way his back-ups performed against the eastern European minnows.

    “I thought the way the players applied themselves, to be given that opportunity you could see they wanted to go and grab it,” he said.

    “It has been a tough time for a lot of these players, to not play. Some of them have not played since our first World Cup warm-up game against Italy.

    “That was a deliberate policy to keep a 23 and 15 working as much as possible together as we built up to our South Africa game, and then when you have a two-week break, then another week versus Tonga, it is a long time to wait to play at a World Cup.

    “But they grabbed their opportunity tonight and whether that means they play next week will be decided in selection.

    “I’m really pleased with the level of competition, the depth we have and the individual performances tonight that means whoever goes out next week we can be confident of their ability to get the job done.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.