|Full name||Owen Thomas Franks|
|Date of birth||23 December 1987|
|Place of birth||Motueka, New Zealand|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||118 kg (18 st 8 lb; 260 lb)|
|School||Christchurch Boys' High School|
|Notable relative(s)||Ben Franks (brother)|
|Rugby union career|
Owen Thomas Franks (born 23 December 1987) is a New Zealand rugby player who plays for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby competition and the All Blacks at international level. He is a key member of 2015 Rugby World Cup winning team and became one of only twenty dual Rugby Union World Cup winners. He is also notable for having never scored for the All Blacks in his test career.
He made his debut for Canterbury in the Air New Zealand Cup in 2007. He was also Campbell Johnstone's understudy before he left for France and Franks assumed the tighthead duties for the Canterbury team. His older brother, Ben Franks is also a prop and plays alongside his brother.
Franks made his debut for the Crusaders in 2009 as a substitute against the Western Force but made his first start in the victory over the Bulls and his stellar performance also secured him an All Black contract. Relatively small in stature, he is known for his great scrummaging technique and mobility around the field. He is also very strong, with the ability to squat 280 kg.
Franks has played over 100 games for the Crusaders since his debut, becoming the 13th Crusader to do so, against the Highlanders in 2015.
Franks started in the Crusaders' historic fixture against the touring British and Irish Lions team on 10 June 2017, playing 50 minutes before being replaced by Michael Alaalatoa as the Lions beat the Crusaders 12-3. Franks went on to win the 2017 Super Rugby season with the Crusaders later in the year, with the Crusaders beating the Johannesburg-based Lions away from home at Ellis Park Stadium in the Lions' home country. The Crusaders' 25-17 win over the Lions saw them win the Super Rugby competition for the first time since 2008, making it the 8th time to win Super Rugby in the club's history.
His first start for the All Blacks came against Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup. He won 45–17. Franks was chosen for the 2009 Tri-Nations tournament in New Zealand's first match against Australia. He went on to play the next two games against South Africa before playing once again against Australia. Franks played the penultimate match against South Africa but missed the final match, with Neemia Tialata playing instead. He then came on as a sub against Wales during an international test in November. A week later he started on the pitch in a win over England and went on to be victorious over France a mere week later.
Franks became a regular starter for the All Blacks in 2010, supplanting the long-serving Neemia Tialata as New Zealand's first-choice tighthead prop.
His first game was against Ireland with his brother Ben playing with him. They went on to play Wales twice together. He played once again in the Tri-Nations tournament, starting the first four matches against South Africa and Australia. His brother Ben played the third test against South Africa but he missed out. However he appeared in the final match against Australia winning 23–22. He went on to lose the Halloween test against Australia. He took part in four of New Zealand's November friendlies beating England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Franks and his older brother Ben were both selected for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Franks started in all of the knockout rounds, playing the full 80 minutes of the World Cup Final against France on 23 October 2011, with replacement prop Wyatt Crockett not making the field. New Zealand won against France 8-7, with Franks collecting his winners' medal as All Black captain Richie McCaw lifted the trophy, with New Zealand winning the competition for the second time, having won the first Rugby World Cup in 1987. According to the book, "Cory Jane Winging It, Random Tales from the Right Wing," by former All Blacks teammate Cory Jane and Scott Stevenson, Franks and brother Ben are said to have celebrated the All Blacks Rugby World Cup 2011 victory by squatting the next day 280 kg for 10 Repetitions.
Franks carried a heavy workload for the All Blacks in 2012, appearing in 13 tests. Franks started 12 times in 2012 with the exception of the third Bledisloe Cup test against Australia on 20 October as he replaced newcomer Charlie Faumuina off the bench as the All Blacks drew against the Wallabies 18-18.
Franks' contribution to the All Blacks in 2013 was not as significant due to injuries, with Charlie Faumuina covering for Franks. The ten tests Franks played in 2013 saw him achieve some personal and professional milestones, playing his 50th test for New Zealand on 14 September 2013 when the All Blacks defeated the Springboks 29-15 at Eden Park. Franks' 50th test was unfortunately overshadowed by the outstanding performance of All Black captain Kieran Read and the ill-discipline of both sides, with Springbok hooker Bismarck Du Plessis being red-carded in the 41st minute for elbowing All Black flanker Liam Messam's face. Franks was replaced by Faumuina in the 64th minute of the test.
Franks and his older brother Ben both came off the bench in the second half of New Zealand's final test of 2013, on 24 November that year, with Wyatt Crockett and Charlie Faumuina preferred to start against Ireland for the test. New Zealand was losing 7-22 to Ireland at halftime but Franks lead the forward pack's charge for a comeback, producing one of the best performances of his career, assisting in allowing New Zealand to equalise the score after the 80th minute. Fly-half Aaron Cruden converted Ryan Crotty's 80th minute try, allowing New Zealand to win 24-22, with Franks and his teammates becoming part of the first international rugby team to win every test they played in a calendar year.
After busy seasons in 2014 and 2015, Franks was selected for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and once again started in all three of the knockout rounds for New Zealand. Franks opened the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, against Australia on 31 October 2015, with a huge tackle on Wallabies fullback Israel Folau and played for 54 minutes before being replaced by Charlie Faumuina, who had returned from injury to take part in the tournament. New Zealand beat Australia 34-17 and became the first country to win the Rugby World Cup three times. New Zealand's victory saw Franks and his older brother Ben, who came off the bench to make his final international appearance for New Zealand that day, become the first set of siblings to win a Rugby World Cup multiple times.
Franks had a good season in 2016, starting in all 12 of his test appearances which included a historic 29-40 loss to Ireland on 5 November 2016.
Prior to being selected for New Zealand's three-test series against the British and Irish Lions and Pasifika Challenge against Samoa, Franks' achilles' tendon was observed to be in noticeable pain. Franks still managed to play in five tests for the All Blacks in 2018, including the Lions series, before being ruled out of the second Bledisloe Cup test of the year against Australia due to tearing his achilles' tendon at training. Franks was immediately replaced on the match-day sheet by former Crusaders team-mate Nepo Laulala who had not played for the All Blacks since 2015 due to his own run of injury. Laulala started in all of the remaining tests in 2017 in Franks' absence.
Franks was re-selected for New Zealand in 2018 for the three-test series against France for the June internationals, having recovered from injury during the 2018 Super Rugby season.
- "Edinburgh new signing Nasi Manu open to Scotland call". 3 July 2015.
- rugby, SARL It's. "Rugby - Player statistics Franks Owen - international stats". www.itsrugby.co.uk.