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Franks does hard yards with relegated London Irish

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    02 Jan 2017     Getty Images

Franks told the Rugby Paper that forwards in the second level of England's competitive structure were just as physical as those in the Premiership.

"All Championship teams pride themselves on their set-piece and that's been hugely enjoyable, but we've had to make sure we've turned up every week and it's definitely been very physical," he said.

Franks said some of his opponents in the Championship were as big, and sometimes bigger, than those he faced in the Premiership, and even some at Test level.

"The physicality around scrums, mauls and rucks is similar to Premiership and Super Rugby, but what changes is the speed of play, while at times skill levels in the competition can vary," he said.

There was no danger of complacency being part of the problems the side needed to deal with. When a side had been relegated it wasn't too hard to think about how bad that feeling was.

Now the goal was about focusing on making it back to the Premiership.

Franks could have left the side when it was relegated but said he had no regrets about staying.

"I'm really pleased with the decision. I've enjoyed being with the group of guys we've got this year and we're working hard to get better.

"Rugby's a funny sport and it can change quickly, so who knows where it could lead? It would be a great feeling in a couple of years if Irish are competing near the top again," he said.

After relegation occurred the slate had been wiped clean at the club and a fresh start had been made.

"With where Irish have been over the last few years, we had to break everything down and start again, but being in the Championship means you don't have all the lights and cameras on you and you can just focus on yourselves and improving," he said.

The approach to the season had been one of working to a limited game plan, focusing on doing a few things well, and then adding to that as the season progressed.

Former Springbok, and former Saracens coach, Brendan Venter is the technical director of the club and Franks was confident a winning culture was emerging.

"The stuff we're doing in terms of training and personal responsibilities is similar to Saracens, so if we can get to where they are in the Premiership one day it would be incredibly satisfying.

"Nobody's getting ahead of themselves but, hopefully [we] may be able to look back at one year in the Championship as the foundation for success. Now, though, we just want to improve for the play-offs," Franks said.