“100 percent I want to play rugby league, I think they [the players] do a lot more in terms of off the field stuff. And also, just a new challenge. I want to test myself,” Savea told podcast host and former rugby league international Isaac John.
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The 44-test All Black mentioned that he would like to transfer to an NRL club that was “dominating, like the [Melbourne] Storm and [Sydney] Roosters”.
“[I’ve] been following hard out on the World Rugby rules and that stuff. For me it’s how proud the Samoan people are and I know how much Samoans give to rugby internationally…my old man’s face if he knew that I was going to play [for Samoa],” he said.
His Super Rugby franchise isn’t buying into the hysteria that has followed in the wake of his comments, though, as Hurricanes assistant coach Chris Gibbes emphasised the importance of Savea within the club.
“If you look at it, he’s a competitive athlete and he’s not the first guy to talk about different codes,” Gibbes said.
“But we haven’t really talked about it too much because at the end of the day, Ardie is part of us and he’s working his way back into our team and helping us prepare as well as we can for the game.
“It hasn’t dominated our discussions.”
Instead, Gibbes opted to focus on Savea’s injury recovery after he was ruled out of action for most of this year’s Super Rugby through a knee injury sustained during the All Blacks‘ World Cup semi-final defeat to England last year.
Gibbes said Savea, whose contract with New Zealand Rugby expires next year, was “doing everything right” to recover and return for the Hurricanes.
“We want to win a championship and we want him to be a part of it,” Gibbes said.
“He’s just ticking along week by week.”
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