Boys will be boys, says dad of Franks feud

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2013
Ben Franks
Fairfax NZ
BIG BEN: Ben Franks will be playing for the Hurricanes.
Owen Franks
Fairfax NZ
BROTHERS FACE OFF: Owen Franks will face his brother Ben when the Crusaders play the Hurricanes.

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You could call it rugby's most perfect match-up.

Brothers Ben and Owen Franks - the same build, exactly the same weight and an almost identical height.

Also it's the first time they will lock horns in their Super rugby playing careers and you have yourself an evenly poised scrap.

It's usually a case of go hard or go home for the two front rowers who have carved themselves a reputation as two of the most physical front rowers in world rugby.

But the man who knows them best, their father Ken, is expecting nothing out of the ordinary from his dumbbell-bashing sons when they go face to face in the first scrum tonight.

"It will be business as usual for them I'm picking," Franks said.

"None of us really tend to buy into a lot of stuff off the paddock. Nana is getting a little stressed about it, though.

"Sure there might be a few words spoken, but so far there hasn't really been much said about it between them this week."

Emotions aren't exactly high up on the conversation list around the Franks dinner table but for Ken this week is obviously special, though he was trying not to show it.

Ben and Owen have just released their own book, Training Tough - Working Out With The Franks Brothers - and it has culminated in tonight's match.

But nothing will be different and Ken, who is a fitness coach at the family Crossfit gym in central Christchurch, will continue to go through his usual pre-match routine.

"I would have liked to have gone up but we have the Crossfit games starting here on Saturday morning so I can't really be going away.

"I'm not a great watcher of rugby anyway. I used to have friends and family over to watch matches but now it's just usually my partner and I as I tend to get a little worked up.

"I'll send both the boys a message before the game, though, which I do before every game. I'll tell Ben to make sure he goes hard and then copy the same message to Owen."

Going head-to-head isn't a completely new experience for the Franks boys, who from a young age have sparred against each other almost every day.

They did play 10 minutes against each other in a Tasman/Canterbury match in 2007.

Ben, four years Owen's senior, moved to the Hurricanes this season to develop his skill set at loosehead prop, meaning for the first season since Owen joined the Crusaders in 2007 they aren't in the same Super rugby squad.

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"They have been training partners all their lives so you can see why it probably doesn't mean as much to them as it does to others. I think once they have retired the significance of it all will be a bit more understandable."

- The Press

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