Gloucester Rugby scrum-half Willi Heinz believes an in-form London Irish have the ability to give his side a Franks assessment at Kingsholm.
The two sides were involved in two breathtaking Aviva Premiership Rugby clashes in Round 7, as Gloucester drew 39-39 in a helter-skelter clash with Harlequins at Big Game 8 while London Irish finally got off the mark this season in a 25-23 thriller against Northampton Saints.
A trip to Kingsholm will arguably be an even greater challenge for Irish however – Gloucester have won their last four home games in all competitions and hold a four-game winning streak over the Exiles.
But it is perhaps of no coincidence that Rugby World Cup winning All Black Ben Franks helped lay the
foundation for last week’s victory as the cornerstone of their scrum.
And according to Heinz, who has played alongside Franks at Super Rugby team Crusaders, Gloucester are relishing the test against a reinvigorated team.
“(Franks) is an international front-rower, he can play both sides and I know personally he’s a consummate professional when it comes to the game,” said Heinz.
“He’ll certainly have his house in order when he takes the field, and I’m sure that professionalism and preparation will be rubbing off on the boys there. He’s a quality player and I’m sure he’ll do good things for them.
“They had a good win against Northampton and they’ll be confident, but we’re looking forward to the battle. Conditions will be different so it might not be quite the free-flowing game we saw last week, but certainly playing in the right area of the field will be important as well.”
Gloucester were minutes away from a famous victory themselves at Twickenham last week but, with Richard Hibbard sin-binned, could not hold on to a ten-point lead.
Still, the tries are flowing once again for the Cherry & Whites, and London Irish fly-half Chris Noakes has urged his side to avenge last season’s heavy 35-13 defeat at Kingsholm.
He said: “We went there last year and fell behind and they got a drubbing so we know that Gloucester is a really tough place to go.
“They are a strong side and it will be a packed house with a lot of very knowledgeable fans so we are looking forward to that atmosphere.
“We know that they are a good side but we feel confident and will be looking to go there and put in a performance.
“We have the win against Saints now so we will be looking to build some momentum and get some more points on the board.”
Referee: Tom Foley (11th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Kelvin Stewart & Jonathan Healy.
TMO: David Sainsbury.