Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Irish heroics benefited game, and I wouldn't be shocked by a repeat at the Aviva: Franks

By Jonathan Bradley

Two-time World Cup-winning All Black Ben Franks has hailed Ireland's victory over his former side as good for rugby.

With the rematch set for the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday, Joe Schmidt's men are still receiving plaudits for their first win over New Zealand in 111 years of trying.

And Franks, whose brother Owen is still in Steve Hansen's squad, knows all too well what the result means for both sides.

Having earned his last cap in the 2015 World Cup final win over Australia, Franks scored his first ever international try against the Irish in New Plymouth during the summer of 2010 - a game the hosts won 66-28 after a red card for Jamie Heaslip.

His only other international score also came against the men in green, this time as part of an unforgettable comeback at the Aviva Stadium in 2013.

With New Zealand having entered the Soldier Field contest on the crest of an 18-game winning streak, Franks admitted the result was beneficial for the game.

"As a great All Blacks fan, you don't want to see your team lose but it was the right result and the All Blacks have acknowledged that," he said.

"Ireland played so well and deserved to win. It was good for rugby and it is great that they get a couple of cracks at each other this month. Maybe the All Blacks will redeem themselves or if Ireland did it twice, well, imagine how that would be."

The 32-year-old, who was in Belfast last week as part of the Barbarians but is currently a team-mate of former Ulsterman Tom Court at London Irish, expects a response from his homeland on Saturday. Interestingly, however, he would not be surprised in Ireland's second victory arriving after a considerably shorter wait than their first.

"There will be hurt in the camp," he said.

"It's funny though, I did an interview before the game in Chicago and everybody was writing the Irish off.

"But I said they are the one team that we played that always turned up and gave you a tight match.

"Every game I played against Ireland was tight. There was a game in Christchurch when we won in the last minute and then the last game in Dublin where we managed to do it in overtime.

"Traditionally, Ireland have always been there so it was no real surprise."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph