Prop Owen Franks set to bring up ton for Crusaders against Highlanders

All Blacks prop Owen Franks will play his 100th game for the Crusaders when they square off with Southern rivals the ...
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ

All Blacks prop Owen Franks will play his 100th game for the Crusaders when they square off with Southern rivals the Highlanders.

Owen Franks will make his 100th appearance for the Crusaders when they play the Highlanders in Christchurch on Saturday night.

Franks, 27, who made his debut for the Crusaders against the Western Force in 2009, was picked for the All Blacks later that season and is now considered one of the world's premier tighthead props.

"Everyone will want to make this a special occasion for Owen because he gives so much to this team," coach Todd Blackadder said.

"He leads the way with his professionalism and dedication and provides an outstanding mentor to other members of the team.

"He gives 100 percent every single day, both in his preparation and when he plays.

"I know that Owen will approach this game the same way as he approaches every game, but we will take some time afterwards to mark this important milestone with him and show our appreciation for the immense contribution he makes to this team."

After the Crusaders' 52-10 thrashing of the Sharks in Durban last week, Blackadder has made just two changes to his starting side - and there is no room for either Richie McCaw or Dan Carter.

Loosehead prop Joe Moody returns to the starting side after losing his place following the opening-round loss to the Rebels on February 13, and Alex Hodgman has been named as cover on the bench.

This ensures Wyatt Crockett is given a break after appearing in all seven matches.

The other change is at lock, where Jimmy Tupou gets a rare run-on start. Luke Romano has been rotated out of the match-day 23 and Scott Barrett is listed on the bench.

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Flanker McCaw, who took the field in the 51st minute of last weekend's match, has been left on ice to allow Matt Todd and Jordan Taufua to start on the flanks. McCaw appears likely to start against the Chiefs in Christchurch in the next round.

Carter, who skipped the Durban fixture because he was on paternity leave for the birth of his second son, Fox, is in the reserves.

Colin Slade has been named at first five-eighth in a backline that is unchanged from the one that ripped apart the Sharks.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, David Havili, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock, Jimmy Tupou, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Joe Moody. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Richie McCaw, Mitchell Drummond, Dan Carter, Nafi Tuitavake.

 - Stuff

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