The legend of Owen Franks, the prop who hasn't scored a point for the All Blacks in 99 tests, might have just grown with the revelations on the eve of his 100th that he took a protein shake to his own wedding.

Never to leave anything to chance as far as nutrition goes, the now 30-year-old admitted today he thought it prudent to ensure he wouldn't fade during the formal part of the reception following his nuptials with Emma.

"Yeah, I take food pretty seriously," Franks said, after coach Steve Hansen said the tighthead prop had lifted the bar at the All Blacks in terms of having a professional attitude. "I wasn't 100 per cent sure that the catering would have enough food so I pre-packaged the protein shake just to make sure I wouldn't get 'hangry' during all the speeches."

There was little chance of Franks' audience drifting off at the All Blacks hotel today because there were gems aplenty from a man who is usually happier to let his actions do the talking. He clearly appreciates the magnitude of his achievement in reaching the three-figure milestone, a remarkable effort and a testament to his resilience in a demanding position after making his debut in 2009.


And so he was happy to expand on his celebratory drinks preferences, a fist-fight he had on the training pitch with brother Ben, himself a former Crusader and All Blacks prop, and the text he got from said brother which gave another insight into their mindset as rivals and siblings.

Of the latter, he said of Ben, four years older and currently at Northampton: "I did actually get a text from him this morning. He said something along the lines of that he was proud of me and that, and he said 'don't text back because it would be awkward'. That's probably the most emotional he's ever got."

Owen Franks will play his 100th test for the All Blacks. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Owen Franks will play his 100th test for the All Blacks. Photo / Brett Phibbs

It was Crusaders and All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor, sitting alongside Owen, who brought up the scrap between the brothers, saying: "I was pretty blown away by it; I thought, 'Jeez, this guy doesn't take a backward step even to his own blood'. That was pretty impressive, actually, and it set the standard for what he was about.

"I remember thinking when I was young 'don't run down his channel because he's knocked a few people out in his time' as well."

Asked to score the fight, Taylor said: "I just saw two punches get thrown by both sides and I think Chris Jack broke it up."

Owen added: "We're both horrible fighters so we probably missed every punch we threw, but the intent was there."

It might be a case of the worst possible timing for the Wallabies to come up against an All Black pack who were so dominant in Sydney when celebrating Sam Whitelock's 100th cap, and who will now be determined to be likewise at Eden Park in recognition of Franks' achievements.

For Taylor, Franks is an "insurance policy", a man always doing his job.


For Franks, he just wanted to emulate modern All Blacks props such as Greg Somerville and Carl Hayman, players capable of doing it all, and he has got to the point where he genuinely can. Always recognised as a supreme scrummager and lineout lifter, Franks has developed his handling skills and running lines to the point where he is comfortable anywhere on the field.

"When I first came into the All Blacks I was just pretty keen to earn the respect of my teammates and make a name for myself. I probably wasn't prepared for … all the travel, the constant – I wouldn't say 'grind' because grind makes it sound like something you don't enjoy – but it's a busy schedule and that was something that took a while to get used to.

"It's everything that I love doing – training, you get to express yourself on the weekend – you get to travel. There are parts to it which do get to become like a job but I'm in a really privileged position and so I constantly remind myself about that.

"I've always taken pride in being a modern-day prop. You're expected to do everything that everyone else does and so you should."

Hansen said of Franks: "He's a dedicated athlete. He and his brother I think set some massive standards on how to prepare and to what lengths they would go to make sure they would turn up on Saturday in the best possible condition they can. He should be commended for that."