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All Blacks pay tribute to workhorse Franks ahead...

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All Blacks pay tribute to workhorse Franks ahead of 100th Test

A pair of All Black stars have paid tribute to one of the integral members of the team’s forward pack.

Tighthead prop Owen Franks will join the exclusive 100-Test club should he feature against the Wallabies on Saturday night, one match after longtime Crusaders and All Blacks teammate Sam Whitelock.

Halfback Aaron Smith attributed the milestone to Franks’ work both on and off the field.

“How amazing he is is what he does off the field to prepare himself for a game, it’s pretty amazing,” Smith told media on Monday.

“I know that in the last few years I’ve really taken note on his preparation, the little things he does; diet, stretching, getting ready to train, focus.

“You can learn a lot from a guy like that, from someone that doesn’t say much either.”

Despite his quiet demeanor, Franks’ presence is felt all over the park. The 30-year-old has been an All Black mainstay since his debut in 2009.

“Says a lot more with his actions and it’s just a true testament to his – same as Sam [Whitelock] last week – their durability in the last seven or eight or nine years is pretty amazing,” Smith continued.

“It’s down to all the work they do off the field. It just gives them a chance to perform and they do it most weeks.

“They’ve been amazing players for New Zealand Rugby, the Crusaders, and for the All Blacks.”

Franks’ work in the scrum has made Smith’s job easier over the years, with the halfback making note of this during an All Blacks media session in Auckland.

“I definitely know that you’re pretty blessed when you put the ball in the scrum and you can just wander back there, pick it up when you want, so it’s quite nice.”

All Blacks fullback Ben Smith echoed his halfback’s view of Franks.

“Obviously he gives us a great platform to work off. His professionalism stands out to me and the way he goes about his work is pretty impressive,” Ben Smith said.

“He doesn’t say much but when he does, everyone listens and it’s bang on the money so it’s going to be a great achievement if he plays on Saturday in his 100th Test.”

Franks and the All Blacks will be hoping to secure the Bledisloe Cup for another year when they resume their Rugby Championship campaign in front of a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday night.

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All Blacks pay tribute to workhorse Franks ahead of 100th Test