Ben Franks happy to imitate Julian Savea
Hurricanes prop Ben Franks insists he's not trying to steal Julian Savea's thunder after bullocking over in the corner during last night's nail-biting win over the Highlanders.
But as far as wings go Franks reckons he picked the right one to mimic when he steam-rolled over the top of Highlanders fullback Ben Smith to score during the Hurricanes nail biting 23-19 win in Dunedin.
"It would be easier to mimic Jules because he just runs over people as opposed to some of the other wings who have some fancy feet," Franks said after the match. "If I was trying to be like any wing it would have to be Jules because he runs nice and straight."
The loosehead specialist could see the funny side to his third Super Rugby try in his 86th match, laughing when asked if he'd considered a chip and chase from 10 metres out.
"A chip and chase, nah. It all happens too fast out there. It's a split second thing."
Franks won't score too many tries like this one, a perfect draw and pass from openside Karl Lowe, lock Jeremy Thrush and No 8 Victor Vito to put him in space on the touch line after 32 minutes.
The try pushed the Hurricanes ahead 12-6 in the second of six lead changes, but it was from the scrummaging effort that Franks took most satisfaction.
"It was pretty good. I just feel like we're getting better each week," the former Crusader said.
"But especially [satisfying] because it's been a tricky match week when it's come to scrums."
That's because the Hurricanes lost prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen to a sternum injury, adding to the now season-ending shoulder problem of Eric Sione.
With hooker Dane Coles (ankle) also out and his replacement Motu Matu'u nursing a sore shoulder, practice was disrupted to say the least.
Matu'u had a strong game in his first Super Rugby start of the season, while Hawke's Bay's Ash Dixon made a good fist of his hard-earned debut.
It didn't matter as the Hurricanes put pressure on a Highlanders scrum that lost hooker Andrew Hore early to a rib injury.
"We didn't have many feeds but we were able to get in there and put a bit of pressure on theirs and stop the backs from getting too many strikes," Franks said.
"Everyone's pretty tired. We've had a full-on first four weeks. [In] the big scheme of things it's a really important win for us.
"Putting two together leading into a bye, especially against two New Zealand teams. It puts us in a good place to hopefully push on and do some good things after the bye."
And there is more good news for the Hurricanes with flankers Ardie Savea (suspended) and Jack Lam (injured), both set to return this week.
Savea will play for the development side against Tonga A at the Hutt Recreation Ground on Monday night, while Lam will test his knee in a charity match on Friday.
Their returns will take some welcome pressure off Karl Lowe, who has shouldered a big load and showed some signs of fatigue in the second half against the Highlanders.
The Dominion Post