The Hurricanes could have star loose forward Ardie Savea back from his significant knee injury earlier than expected.


Savea was initially expected to miss the majority of the 2020 Super Rugby season after sustaining an injured knee in the All Blacks‘ World Cup semi-final defeat to England in Japan last year.

The 26-year-old underwent surgery at the end of 2019, which was thought to have ruled him out of action for five-to-six months.

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However, speaking ahead of his side’s 40-19 hammering at the hands of the Crusaders in their pre-season bout in Ashburton on Saturday, new Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland suggested that Savea could be back much earlier than first anticipated.

“He’s doing everything right at the moment and he’s coming along nicely,” Holland said to media.


An early return for Savea would undoubtedly boost the Hurricanes’ Super Rugby hopes this year after a tumultuous off-season threatened to derail their 2020 campaign.

Adding to Savea’s injury woes was the defection of two-time World Rugby player of the year Beauden Barrett to the Blues, while John Plumtree’s promotion to an All Blacks assistant post has left little time for Holland to acclimatise to the Hurricanes’ head coach role.

While it was only a pre-season fixture without a multitude of key players on either side, the Crusaders’ dismantling of the Hurricanes on Saturday was indicative the visitors’ turbulent past few months.


It’s a dire situation to be in less than a fortnight from the competition’s opening weekend.

As someone who stood out as one of the best players on the planet in 2019, Savea’s return to the playing field couldn’t come soon enough for a seemingly embattled franchise in the early stages of the New Year.

Regardless of Savea’s return date, the Hurricanes will have to make do without the 44-test international in their final pre-season clash against the Blues at Onewa Domain on Friday.

Holland’s side will then open their campaign with a tricky road trip to South Africa and then Argentina to face the Stormers and Jaguares on February 1 and February 8.

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