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'Its been an absolute pleasure': Julian Savea departs Hurricanes for new Super club

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Julian Savea’s legendary Hurricanes career has come to an end, with the club’s leading try scorer announcing on Instagram he will sign elsewhere for the 2024 season.

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Savea leaves the Wellington club as the joint record holder for most tries in Super Rugby history with 60 in 152 appearances.

Once touted as the next Jonah Lomu, ‘the bus’ has played 54 tests for the All Blacks with 46 tries in the black jersey, making him one of New Zealand’s all-time greatest finishers.

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Savea signed off from his home club with an emotional written farewell.

”It’s been an absolute pleasure to represent this club and my home team over the past 11 years and I’m grateful for the brotherhood I formed over the years, the memories I have made, the knowledge I have learnt and milestones I’ve achieved at the Hurricanes,” Savea wrote on Instagram.

“I know the legacy I have created here for myself is something I am very proud of and will cherish for the rest of my life. Not the departure I had planned or hoped for, but that’s rugby for you and sometimes it’s brutal.

“I have loved every minute even through the ups and downs and I’m truely grateful for the constant support from my family, friends and the fans. But I’m not finished yet…..”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Julian Savea (@juliansavea7)

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The 33-year-old’s strike rate isn’t what it once was but three tries in his 2023 campaign were reward for some strong play. He signed off his post with the quote: “When one door closes, another opens.”

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The post’s reference to the brutal nature of the sport inevitably raised some eyebrows and prompted a response from chief executive Avan Lee, who shared an honest review of the contract discussions between Savea and the club.

“There were conversations taking place between coaches and the player,” Lee said. “And obviously that didn’t work out in Julian’s favour. It’s massively difficult to go through a process like that and see a legend of the club leaving.

“The fact we had a new coaching setup was definitely a complication because that person hadn’t started, the coaches had to discuss players and contracts, who might be coming in and who might not be.

“For me, it’s the coach’s decision, but I stand beside it. But that was a part of the puzzle and was a complication.

“You build up a personal relationship with the senior players over eight or 10 years, so it is genuinely really difficult to see them go and we’ll absolutely miss Jules around our place.

“I’m not surprised he’s been picked up by another club given his experience and what he can bring off the field as much as on it.”

That new club will remain a mystery until next week, Savea teased the signing in a separate post.

“I still have plenty of more years in the tank,” Savea said. “I will be joining another Super Rugby team and will be announcing that next week. Watch this space.”

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The veteran’s versatility and experience will contribute hugely to whatever club acquires his services, with the ability to play in the midfield as well as on both wings well within his skill set.

The post’s comment section was flooded by peers wishing Savea all the best for his next chapter, including messages from brother Ardie, Quade Cooper, Aaron Smith, Cam Roigard, Ngani Laumape, TJ Perenara, Liam Messam and Rieko Ioane.

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