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All Blacks prop Franks re-signs to 2019

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/12/2016

Owen Franks is likely to become the most-capped All Blacks prop in history after inking a new deal until the 2019 World Cup.

Franks, 28, has played 90 Tests for New Zealand since his 2009 debut, just 13 fewer than legendary loosehead Tony Woodcock.

In that time the 119kg tighthead has won back-to-back World Cups, as well as eight Bledisloe Cups and five Rugby Championships.

He'll also remain with the Crusaders at Super Rugby level after amassing 123 appearances for the Christchurch-based outfit.

Franks said on Thursday that he'd received plenty of lucrative overseas offers but wasn't keen to depart the Shaky Isles just yet.

"I felt I wasn't ready to give up playing with the best players in the game," Franks said.

"I also believe that I haven't reached my full potential yet, and don't want to leave until I feel I have."

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen was chuffed by the news, having relied on Franks in the No.3 jumper since taking over as coach at the end of 2011.

He said the Motueka native was one of the best tightheads in the world with his strength at both the set-piece and breakdown.

"His formidable work ethic, commitment to the team's values and outstanding play make him one of the most respected players in our team," Hansen said.

Crusaders boss Scott Robertson was also pleased by Franks' renewal as he gears up for his first season in the top job.

A Super Rugby title is the only trophy to still elude Franks, having made his 2009 franchise debut a year after their most recent triumph.

He also has some way to go to beat the world propping record for Tests, held by 134-cap Wales and Lions loosehead Gethin Jenkins.

He'd need to continue in the black jumper until at least 2020 to reach that target.

"Players of Owen's calibre can pretty much choose where they play, so it's fantastic that he's chosen to continue his career here," Robertson said.

"His dedication to being the best in every facet of his preparation will ensure he continues to be at the top of world rugby."

Franks also holds the unwanted record of being the most-capped player in history to never score a Test try, despite missing just 15 All Blacks games in seven seasons.

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