Super Rugby

Crusaders boosted by Franks return for playoffs

Cape Town - The Crusaders have confirmed that All Blacks stalwart Owen Franks will be available for Friday’s Super Rugby quarter-final against the Highlanders

Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.

After tearing a muscle in his shoulder on April 6, the 31-year-old has been on the sidelines for over two months, but will return for the crucial end of season shake-up.

His absence has not hampered the defending champions, who once again won the New Zealand Conference and finished top of the overall standings, but the Christchurch outfit will now be able to field their all-All Blacks front-row for the first time this year.

“(Franks) has done a lot of work, credit to him, that’s the man he is,” forwards coach Jason Ryan said.

“We know against the Highlanders we’re going to have to change gears and ramp things up a lot more. We’ve talked a lot as a forward pack of changing gears. We have to.”

The Crusaders will go into Friday's encounter as clear favourites having beaten the Highlanders 43-17 in their conference clash earlier in the tournament.

The return fixture in Dunedin was called off and deemed a draw due to the shocking mosque bombing in Christchurch.

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