RICHARD FERGUSON updates Keo.co.za followers on the latest Super Rugby news from New Zealand.
Brother versus Brother
Ben Franks saved younger brother Ben from a house fire when they were kids. This weekend the two All Black props they will square up against each other in Super Rugby action.
The Franks brothers have played for the All Blacks since 2010 and this is the first time they will play against each other in Super Rugby. Both played for Crusaders but a lack of game time, primarily because of Owen’s presence, prompted Ben to move to the Hurricanes.
The two have only scrummed against each other once in a competitive match when Tasman played Canterbury but it was only a 15 minute cameo. This time it’s the real deal and older brother Ben told the New Zealand website RugbyHeaven he saw the match up as no different from playing another world class opponent.
‘Me and Owen we’ve always done stuff together, so it feels natural. I haven’t worried about going up against Owen in the brother sense. I do my homework, obviously, as I do every week on my opponent and Owen’s obviously world-class.’
Ben has refocused on playing loosehead to enhance his prospects of greater game time at every level.
‘I can understand how it is for people at home when you think about it, but from when you start playing rugby at an early age you are either playing with mates or coming up against mates,’ Ben said.
‘When you’ve played since early childhood right through then competition is part of everyday life.’ I’ve been up against mates at training every day this week. It’s part and parcel of being a professional rugby player.’
Dagg delights in move to fullback
Israel Dagg is back in his favoured fullback position for the Crusaders visit to Wellington this weekend.
Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Johnny McNicholl, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Subs: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Tom Donnelly, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Adam Whitelock.
Vito in swap with Shields
Victor Vito will play No 8 against the Crusaders and in-form young loose-forward Brad Shields will play No 6 against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Brad Shields, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Substitutes: Motu Matu’u/Ash Dixon, Ben May, James Broadhurst, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie, James Marshall, Reynold Lee-Lo
Dan disputes Japan deal
Dan Carter has refuted he has already signed for Japanese club Toyota and not dismissed playing in France again.
Carter has been linked to a million dollar deal with a Japanese club for next year, in what will be his sabbatical year from New Zealand rugby.
‘I don’t know where that has come from but I think it is bad reporting, again,’ said Carter. ‘And (it is) speculation because I am nowhere near signing any deal or getting closer to deciding what I am going to do or whether I take my sabbatical or not. I am still not any closer to making a decision.’
Carter added his management team were talking to several clubs.
‘My management group are just throwing it out there, and talking to a few clubs and players, but it’s still pretty early stages. And for me personally I still haven’t made a decision.’