Former All Black and current London Irish prop Ben Franks has experienced success at multiple levels, with a stellar career by anyone’s standards. This World Rugby feature takes us behind the scenes as we get to see a Franks brother in its natural habitat – the gym.
The two-time Super Rugby winner took part in successful Tri-Nations and Rugby Championship campaigns and is a two-time World Cup winner, but has another passion in life too.
Franks made his debut against Munster in 2008 and his Test debut – where he would score a try – against Ireland in 2010. Clearly New Zealand held his skills on both sides of the scrum in high regard and they were rewarded time and again by his outstanding work ethic.
Whether starting or coming off the bench, Franks always seemed to handle his role with complete class. Arguably, one of his most memorable moments on the field was his try against Ireland in 2013 when the Irish had the All Blacks well and truly on the ropes.
Down 22-10 in the 64th minute – surprising everyone – Franks snuck the ball from the back of the ruck and crashed through an unsuspecting Irish line for the score. The All Blacks would complete the come-from-behind victory in dramatic fashion.
Although he may not be as famous as younger brother Owen, the two-time World Cup winner has set his own destiny, collecting 47 caps in the black jersey before settling down with the Irish.
“For me, its special… I got to experience a lot of things with my brother… My training partner for nearly everything we did was my brother. I was practicing against someone who was world class in his position so that made me better and it made Owen better too,” Franks explains.
He admits that former All Black Lock Brad Thorn had a hand in helping him decide to move to the Premiership, as he was keen to settle down and balance out family life.
As it stands, London Irish have just been relegated, however Franks insists he doesn’t regret his decision to join the side. “You don’t get growth by doing things that are comfortable. You only get growth by going outside your comfort zone.”
As the 31-year old thinks about life after Rugby, he and his family have invested in the gym business. As anyone can see, he and his brother are serious strongmen and appear to have chosen the proper fit.
Franks is also going back to school to apply what he’s learned in the gym and on the field to his training-based business.
Franks is a fine example of hard work and persistence paying off. His on-field success will no doubt carry into life after rugby when he finally decides to hang up the boots. In the meantime, he’ll continue to show up for work ready to make himself and others better.
“This is definitely a big challenge. That’s for sure, but I am enjoying it. That’s the thing: every game for London Irish is a big game for me.”
credit: world rugby