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Ardie Savea labels Scott Robertson's All Blacks influence 'refreshing'

By Ned Lester
Ardie Savea at All Blacks training. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Scott Robertson appears to have made a significant impact throughout his first 10 days in All Blacks camp, with his energy and excitement proving contagious according to team personnel.

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The new coach has had plenty of time to prepare for what is a very short turnaround between the Super Rugby Pacific season and the opening international clash of the year for the team, and his coaching staff’s planning seems to have paid off as an energised All Blacks squad has made themselves at home in Dunedin.

Reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Ardie Savea has been on hand after his sabbatical season in Japan wrapped up in early May. The 30-year-old has been named to start in his familiar No. 8 jersey this weekend and is embracing a healthy challenge under the new leadership.

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“It’s been refreshing and exciting. I’ve never been coached under Razor and it’s so refreshing having him and the rest of the coaches coach and we’re really looking forward to putting something out there,” Savea told media in Dunedin.

“For us who have been here a few years, who have been blessed to be here, you’re still on your toes because you just don’t know what’s happening, you don’t know how things are going to operate. I think that’s good, it keeps everyone on edge and brings the best out of everyone.

“It’s been nice to come together as a team and get stuck into some mahi (work) and get stuck into the week.”

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Much has been made of this match kicking off the new era of All Blacks rugby, one led by the new coaching staff and also a new captain in Scott Barrett, who is joined by brother Jordie and Savea as vice-captains.

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While the powerful No. 8 is excited to get out on the field and bring some new ideas to life, he says it’s still rugby at the end of the day and the key to getting a favourable result will be winning the usual up-front battles.

“Rugby’s a simple game. We all know if you nail the basics you win games, and that’s set piece, how you tackle and how you carry. If we nail that consistently throughout the game I’m sure things will go well.”

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Savea is feeling especially refreshed after his season abroad thanks to some time in a different culture, around different people and under different coaching minds.

He spoke about his time in Japan and how it has affected him.

“It’s actually opened my perspective on life, on rugby. When you’re in New Zealand you can get so absorbed here and just being able to step away, play against and with guys that are from the islands, Aussies, South Africans, it adds a lot of perspective.

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“You have to adapt your game over there, but also the coaching I had over there, I had Dave Rennie and it’s just being able to be open to what they see in my game and what I need to improve. Coming here, just simplifying all that and coming under Razor, just trying to do my best.

“I think it’s just put a wider perspective on things and in life.”

He admits coming back into the All Blacks environment has been a challenge and there are some nerves hanging around ahead of Saturday’s Test.

“I’m nervous. But, nerves bring the best out of us and it’s a great challenge for myself to step forward and try and own it on the field. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough. But I have full confidence to go out there and back myself.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Comments

3 Comments
M
Michael 15 days ago

Ardie voted for Fozzie to stay after the win over the Boks in Ellis park - that was a missed opportunity

D
David 17 days ago

Well he would wouldn’t he? Wasn’t he one of the leaders that voted to stay with Fozzie over Razor in SA when NZR had planned a coup?

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