Franks treats his return as the game of his life

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Thursday, April 19, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Franks will return for the Crusaders against the Sunwolves in their Investec Super Rugby game at AMI Stadium on Saturday.


And from the outset he knew the Crusaders' scrummaging had to be on song because while the Sunwolves might be struggling to register wins, their scrum had performed well and that would be a good test in his area of influence and he was looking at it as the biggest game of his career.

While it had been nearly a year since he last played Franks said the time had gone quickly.

"I kept myself pretty busy and it didn't seem like that long ago I was strapping on the boots. I'm definitely itching to get back out there and prove my worth again," he said.

With problems associated with both his Achilles tendons, surgery was done on the worst and rehabilitation was done on the other.

"It took them a while to come right but they are both a hell of a lot better," he said.

Describing himself as an impatient person he said he had to deal with being more patient and six or eight weeks ago he started feeling the reward for that with both legs feeling a lot better.

Scrummaging had not been the issue so much as the combination of scrummaging and then running. The scrum work had warmed the tendons up but it was the running around that caused the problems.

"Being a bigger guy I probably haven't got great running mechanics and everything piles on top of each other. It was funny, on different days they could react differently," he said.

Rehabilitation had been about building up his calf muscles and getting good loading into them and working on mechanics and trying to run better.

Having to watch the All Blacks play through last year's Investec Rugby Championship and then on their northern tour in November, Franks said it gave him a chance to be a fan again and to see how much the All Blacks mean to New Zealand.

"I actually looked forward to the games and watching it with the family but there was a part where your jealous side comes out and you wish you were there as well," he said.

Playing prop possibly made it easier to get back into the game compared to those positions that required a lot more running. His role was to scrum, and to get up off the ground, short tempo work, which was the way he trained in the gym.

The physical side of the game was something he missed, especially the feeling after hard training with plenty of contact because that left him with the feeling he had done a hard day's work.

He did say that when he opted to have his surgery he was over trying to keep his tendons going, but at the same time he didn't want to say he was tired because he recognised the privileged position he was in being a sportsman for a living.