Franks blow for All Blacks

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 06:04

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: All Blacks prop Owen Franks has been ruled out of this weekend's Rugby Championship Test against Australia with an Achilles problem, team management said Thursday.

The All Blacks said Nepo Laulala would replace Franks in the starting XV, while Jeff Toomaga-Allen has been called in as a replacement in the squad.

Coach Steve Hansen said 95-Test veteran Franks had been battling Achilles problems all season.

"Franks may be out for a while, so will be monitored. Taking it one step at a time," Hansen tweeted on the All Blacks' official feed.

The All Blacks face Australia in Dunedin after a convincing 54-34 win in Sydney last weekend.

Hansen said Laulala was preferred to start ahead of Ofa Tu'ungafasi because he was more the specialist at starting out while Tu'ungafasi had more to offer around the field when coming on as a substitute.

New Zealand - revised: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.

Date: Saturday, August 26
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 Australian Eastern Time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Agence France-Presse & @AllBlacks

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