Franks looking forward to Tongan game

Saying that Ben Franks quite likes the on-field physical stuff is putting it mildly, which is why he is relishing the chance to take on Tonga on Friday night.

The All Blacks prop's ability to play on both sides of the scrum is likely to see him get plenty of time on the bench at the World Cup, but he is a definite possibility to start against Tonga at Eden Park.

He and his younger propping brother Owen are never ones to hide from contact and that much is guaranteed against the hard-hitting Tongans, who will have one or two things to prove to the wider rugby audience.

"Personally I think it's a great way to start the World Cup - against a team that's traditionally physical in all areas. But I'm sure all of the teams we meet in pool play will be,' Ben Franks said.

He said he wasn't concerned about teams dishing out dirty tactics in a bid to put the All Blacks off their game. In fact, Franks would be happy to take on on the chin for the team.

"The game's so fast now. If you want to take time out to do stuff illegally, you can do that but the game moves so fast if you're on the ground doing other things, it has moved on.

"If you want to flip the coin and miss weeks in the World Cup [on suspensions] - you know, I'd happily take a punch in the face if a guy was to miss a month, it doesn't bother me.''

Crusader Franks could play an important part for the All Blacks in the next few weeks. Owen, a specialist tighthead, is the first choice in that position and Tony Woodcock is likely to be first choice at loosehead.

However, Woodcock and fellow prop John Afoa have played little rugby this season due to foot sprains and a cheek fracture respectively suffered in Super Rugby, so their form is less than certain.

The All Blacks team to play Tonga will be released on Wednesday morning.


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