Massive All Blacks exodus awaits
NEWS: All Blacks prop Owen Franks has become the latest New Zealand star to reveal his post-World Cup aspirations.
The prop is one of many current squad members that will be off contract with New Zealand Rugby after next year’s World Cup and he isn’t sure whether he will stay in New Zealand or join his brother overseas.
“It [moving overseas] is an option, yeah,” Franks told Fairfax. “I will keep both options alive, I am in no rush – just see how the season plays out next year,”
30-year-old Franks has played 105 tests after making his All Black debut in 2009 and is set to appear at his third World Cup next year.
15-test prop Nepo Laulala, who is among the reserves for Saturday’s clash with Ireland, shapes as Franks’ successor should he shift overseas at the end of the season.
Franks’ older brother Ben is currently based in England with the Northampton Saints, leaving New Zealand following their victory at the 2015 World Cup.
The younger Franks became part of the All Blacks’ leadership group in 2017, after eight years with the national side.
“I suppose I have not been a huge talker, but having a little bit more of a voice,: he said. “I didn’t think too much about it in the past but it was something I wanted to be involved in and take on,”
Only 118-test veteran and 2011 World Cup hero Tony Woodcock stands in Franks’ path when it comes to the All Blacks’ most capped props, though the accolade is an afterthought for the tough front-rower.
“Woody has really deserved that record, his durability was awesome. If it happens, it happens. I think most guys who get past 50.. or up around 100 tests you are obviously way at the other end of the scale and you know your time left is limited to a certain degree.
“So you forget about the number and just try to make the most of it,”
The other stars reportedly linked to clubs abroad following the World Cup are the likes of Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ryan Crotty.