The injury-hit Hurricanes have called upon one of the club’s favourite sons in the form of Julian Savea for the side’s remaining two fixtures of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland confirmed the news on Monday, but it’s uncertain how much playing time the 29-year-old will be handed as he won’t be fit for his team’s next outing against the Chiefs following their upcoming bye week.
That leaves just the Highlanders clash on August 15 in Dunedin as the only realistic chance for Savea to take the field this season, but it remains a coup nonetheless for the Wellington franchise.
Rumours swirled on social media over the weekend when Savea’s younger brother and star Hurricanes loose forward Ardie hinted at a potential return to Sky Stadium for his older brother.
Julian tweeted a video of Ardie in action against the Crusaders on Saturday, only for the latter to share that tweet on his own account with the caption “See you soon”.
Savea’s arrival back at the Hurricanes is a timely one given the recent departure of barnstorming wing Ben Lam, who played his 50th and final match for the franchise on Saturday before departing to take up a contract with French club Bordeaux.
The Hurricanes will also be without in-form midfielder Ngani Laumape, who sustained a broken forearm in the record-breaking win over the Crusaders, while prop Fraser Armstrong also picked up a fracture, Holland confirmed.
“Both Ngani and Fraser have both got fractures so will have to have operations in the next few days, both of them. Which is bittersweet when you look at the result but that’s life and that’s footy.”
With one-cap All Blacks loose forward Gareth Evans also out for the season, the Hurricanes are looking to recruit “three to four” replacement players, which includes the re-signing of Savea.
The 54-test All Blacks, who played an integral role in New Zealand’s 2015 World Cup triumph, has been based in Auckland since returning from French club Toulon, but is yet to take the field in any capacity on Kiwi shores.
He joins Blues first-five Dan Carter and Highlanders wing Nehe Milner-Skudder in re-joining Super Rugby in New Zealand after having signed with offshore clubs.
Following this week’s bye, the Hurricanes will take on the winless Chiefs in Wellington on August 8.
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