Savea to stay with Hurricanes

Julian Savea. Photo Getty
Julian Savea. Photo: Getty Images
Julian Savea is staying with the Hurricanes.

Wellington has always been home, and he feels that is where he can source inspiration to regain his place in the All Blacks.

Two weeks ago the New Zealand Herald revealed Savea had a rare 'break clause' in his contract through to 2019 that allowed him to leave the franchise mid-way through his four-year New Zealand Rugby deal if he wished.

Colin Cooper and the Chiefs, working on the basis that a change of scenery could take Savea out of his comfort zone and evoke a form revival, are understood to have pursued the 54-test veteran after he was dropped to the bench during the Hurricanes playoffs run in the past two campaigns.

Savea finished this season at the Hurricanes behind Nehe Milner-Skudder and Wes Goosen, and was then dropped from the All Blacks.

But, in an appearance to promote the Brisbane Global Tens tournament on Tuesday, Savea made it clear where his loyalties lie.

"I've decided to stay with the Hurricanes," he said. "With everything that's been going on over the past year I know in my heart that's the best place to get my rugby back.

"Whatever I need to do to get my spot back I will and I'm excited by that challenge.

"I weighed up everything. I know in my heart this is home. There's family and we're just about to have a kid. Regardless if I did decide to go anywhere I still needed to perform well."

Savea was tempted by a move to Hamilton, where he would almost certainly have started after James Lowe's departure.

"When you have that option it definitely is. I put a lot of things on the table. There was only one other franchise I was looking at. I know if any team is going to help me get back to the best it is the Hurricanes."

Since missing out on the All Blacks Rugby Championship squad, Savea has reset his goals to simply enjoy his rugby again. This past month he has leaned on his family for support but feels he is now in a good place to rekindle the form that saw him score 46 test tries and become the world's premier wing.

"When I first found out I didn't make the team it was disappointing but there's a silver lining. It was an opportunity to sit back and reflect on where I am, and it was exciting that I want to be better and get back in the environment. I know I've got a lot of things to work on and I'm excited to do that.

"I wasn't enjoying rugby... I don't know if you could tell by the way I was playing or not. I've got to take ownership of not playing well but now I'm happy with where I'm at.

"I don't have to worry about what everyone is saying and I guess that's what I have been doing in the past... letting the external noise affect me. Now I'm happy and excited to get back to where I know I can be."

Feedback the 27-year-old received from the All Blacks has been clear.

"It was to get my headspace right, which I think I've done. A lot of the young boys are getting faster and you've got to keep up with their speed on the outside. At the moment I'm enjoying the challenge."

After returning to provincial rugby Savea specifically requested to play on the ring wing. For the All Blacks, he has always featured on the left but with Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo, Israel Dagg and Rieko Ioane all seemingly capable of switching sides, Savea appears intent on proving he can do likewise.

He feels the right wing suits his step and fend and he played there regularly before cracking test rugby.

"The only reason I went to the left was because Cory Jane wanted to play on the left so in 2012 I went to the left."

Regardless of whether he is selected for the All Blacks end of year tour, Savea will feature in the Tens next year in yellow and black.

"I watched a bit of it and definitely wanted to be a part of it. Unfortunately we weren't allowed so I took a backseat. It's a good start to look forward to. You've definitely got to be fit. It's good timing, everyone is coming off preseason so they will be excited to play."

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