Franks takes aim at Springbok scrum
September 10, 2009
Owen Franks passes the ball during an All Blacks training session at St Peters College, Cambridge, New Zealand, September 10, 2009
Owen Franks is in a confident mood ahead of New Zealand's clash with South Africa © Getty Images

Owen Franks has admitted that the All Blacks will be targeting the Springboks' stuttering scrum in this weekend's pivotal Tri-Nations clash in Hamilton.

The South African set-piece has looked extremely suspect in recent weeks and it repeatedly buckled under intense pressure from the Wallaby front-row during last Saturday's 21-6 defeat in Brisbane. Certainly, All Blacks prop Franks believes that the scrum is the one weak link in the Springboks' make-up.

"I think it is. We've seen a couple of things we can exploit and we've just been working hard to basically do that," the 21-year-old tight-head said. "We're going to bring it on Saturday at scrum time. We've been working pretty hard just to dominate basically, to really follow the Aussies and give back what they've done, I suppose."

For the Kiwis to secure supremacy in the scrum, Franks will have to tame 'The Beast', Tendai Mtawarira.

The Springbok loose-head is rated as one of the most fearsome scrummagers in world rugby, a reputation that was only further enhanced of his dismantling of legendary England prop Phil Vickery during the South Africans' first Test win over the British & Irish Lions in June. However, Franks, rather than fearing his showdown with Mtawarira, is looking forward to it.

"He (Mtawarira) certainly put him (Vickery) through the roof," he said. "I think I can do the business. It's not something I look at and think, 'I'm worried about that'."

Franks clearly does not lack confidence in his abilities. However, he freely admits that he sometimes struggle to come to terms with the fact that he has already become something of a permanent fixture in the All Black squad at such a tender age.

"Every now and then I think 'what the hell am I doing around these guys?'" he said. "I think back to a year ago, I was struggling pretty much to make a wage. But I don't think about it too much at the moment, I'm just trying to improve and then maybe at the end of this season I can take a break and might reflect a little more."


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