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Watch: Former All Blacks prop scores first Super Rugby try in 4,943 days

By Finn Morton
Owen Franks of the Crusaders runs out after the break during the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between the Crusaders and Hurricanes at Apollo Projects Stadium, on March 15, 2024, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks prop Owen Franks brought an end to what must be one of the longest try scoring droughts in Super Rugby history for an active player on a famous Friday night in Christchurch.

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For all the scrutiny and pressure the struggling Crusaders have been under this season, the defending champion’s 39-nil win over the high-flying Melbourne Rebels at Apollo Projects Stadium in round 10 was something special.

Backrower Christian Lio-Willie scored the sole try of the first half as the Crusaders went into the sheds at half-time with a slender 10-nil lead. But the match was well and truly theirs not long after the interval.

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Lio-Willie scored again just a few minutes into the second term, but it was the Crusaders’ third try of the night will go down in history as the icing on the cake for a team that desperately needed to win.

Off an attacking lineout and the rolling maul that followed, Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Owen Franks crashed over for his first Super Rugby try since May 2010.

For the first time in 4,943 days, Owen Franks was on the scoresheet for the Crusaders. The veteran prop has played 175 Super Rugby matches during his career but this was only his third five-pointer.

“Always job first,” Franks said on Sky Sport NZ’s broadcast after the shutout win. “But as I got closer to the line I was like, ‘I’m holding onto this for sure.’

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“There’s just been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes and it was just great to see the discipline to exit well and stack good moments on top of each other.

“Just really happy for (Rob Penny) actually. The way he turns up every week, his positivity with everything going on has been outstanding.”

First five Rivez Reihana converted Frank’s try to extend the Crusaders’ lead to a seemingly unassailable 25-nil margin. The clock continued to tick by but the hosts were far from done.

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Try scoring machine Sevu Reece extended his season tally to eight which is equal first along with the Blues’ Hoskins Sotutu and Chiefs halfback Cortez Ratima for the most in the competition.

Wales international Johnny McNicholl capped off the win with one last try in the 78th minute which saw the traditional Super Rugby heavyweights move off the bottom of the table.

“Certainly pleased with how the boys turned up tonight,” captain Scott Barrett said. “There were some stern words through this week and plenty of hurt over the past few weeks.

“It was pleasing to see the boys roll up and put in a performance like that.

“The forward pack started to really get into their work and at times this season we’ve really struggled up front but the scrum went really well there,” he added.

“The boys are growing and it’s good to see we’re learning.”

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