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'He looks like a beast': Ardie Savea names the one player he'd sign for the Hurricanes

By Sam Smith
Photos: Getty Images/Photosport

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All Blacks star Ardie Savea has listed four of the most promising youngsters coming through the ranks at the Hurricanes, and named the one player he would sign for the franchise.

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Speaking on the What A Lad podcast, hosted by ex-Hurricanes fullback James Marshall, Savea spoke highly of the 2022 Hurricanes squad, which was revealed last month ahead of next year’s inaugural edition of Super Rugby Pacific.

The squad, led by head coach Jason Holland, features six current All Blacks in the form of Savea, Jordie Barrett, the returning TJ Perenara, Dane Coles, Asafo Aumua and Tyrel Lomax.

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The Wellington-based franchise also boasts former internationals Julian Savea and Peter Umaga-Jensen, as well as two new signings Owen Franks and Dominic Bird, both of whom have been capped by the All Blacks.

However, Savea told What A Lad that it is his side’s “freakish” young talent that excites him the most heading into next season.

“A mixture of older, senior players, then you have a little bit of experienced players and then we’ve got some mean as young talent coming through,” the 59-test loose forward said.

“Honestly, there’s some freakish guys, fast, strong. It’s pretty nerve-racking to see. Keeps everyone on their toes.”

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When asked which youngsters stand out the most from the current crop of Hurricanes, Savea pinpointed fellow loose forwards Devan Flanders and Braydon Iose, playmaker Ruben Love and midfielder Billy Proctor as the picks of the bunch.

“There’s a few. Just off the top of my head, Devan Flanders, he’s a beast. Braydon Iose from Manawatu, the likes of Ruben Love, those young brothers coming through, that’s pretty awesome,” Savea, who captained the Hurricanes this year, said.

“Those three and Billy Procs, unsung hero. Quiet dude, but just, like I said, goes about his mahi [work], and I love that.”

While Savea remains enthusiastic about the personnel within the Hurricanes roster, he didn’t shy from naming Fiji star Josua Tuisova as the one player in international rugby he would like to sign for the franchise.

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Tuisova has forged a name for himself as one of the most powerful and exciting players in the sport, but Savea admitted that he has only seen highlights of the barnstorming Lyon flyer.

Nevertheless, an anecdote shared to him by older brother Julian from his time as Tuisova’s teammate at Toulon between 2018 and 2019 has proven to be enough to convince Savea that the 2016 Olympic gold medallist would be a quality signing by the Hurricanes.

“I’d go, just because I’ve seen his highlights, and he looks like a beast, Josh Tuisova,” Savea told What A Lad when asked which player he would sign for the Hurricanes.

“I’ve never seen him before, but obviously Bus [Julian Savea] played with him, and when I hear Bus say, ‘He’s the real Bus’, it must mean something.”

Savea and the Hurricanes will open their 2022 Super Rugby Pacific campaign against the Waratahs at a yet-to-be-determined venue in New South Wales on February 18.

Listen to Ardie Savea’s interview on the What A Lad podcast below:

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