Former All Blacks wing Julian Savea has seemingly set his sights on the 2023 World Cup by signing a two-year contract extension with the Hurricanes.
In doing so, the 31-year-old will stay with the Wellington-based franchise until 2023, the same year the next World Cup will be staged in France.
Savea has previously spoken of of the possibility of returning to the All Blacks set-up, and his contract extension appears to be indicative of that.
“Since being back, training hard and being back in the environment with the Canes, it sort of sparked a fuse,” the 54-test wing, who scored 46 tries for the All Blacks between 2012 and 2017, told the What A Lad podcast last August.
“I just really want to get back into things and I think I’m leaning towards wanting to get back to the best. If I’m at my best then I definitely have a chance of being in that All Blacks jersey again.”
After leaving the Hurricanes in 2018 to take up a deal in France with Top 14 club Toulon, Savea returned to New Zealand last year to play for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup.
His performances there earned him a re-call back into the Hurricanes, where he has featured prominently on the wing.
By signing on until 2023, Savea could overtake former captain TJ Perenara – who is rumoured to make a shock cross-code switch to join the Sydney Roosters in the NRL – as the franchise’s most capped player.
With 126 Hurricanes appearances to his name, Savea trails Perenara by 14 caps, a total of which he could attain within the next two years should the off-contract halfback opt to leave rugby union for rugby league this year.
Savea isn’t the only Hurricanes player to re-commit himself to the franchise beyond this year, as loose forward Reed Prinsep has also signed on until 2023, while veteran lock Scott Scrafton has re-signed until 2022.
Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland said he is excited to have all three players locked in for the coming seasons ahead of next year’s new-look competition that will feature all of the New Zealand and Australian sides as well as Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua.
“All three players have shown just what it means to them to play for the Hurricanes and they continue to make a significant impact on our club,” Holland said.
“Our coaching group knows the importance of having good leaders in the mix to help bring the next crop of quality Hurricanes players through, so we’re delighted these players have shown their desire to continue with us.”
The Hurricanes are in last place in Super Rugby Aotearoa with one win from six matches this season and are currently on their bye week before they take on the Chiefs in Hamilton next Friday.
Listen to the latest episode of the Aotearoa Rugby Pod below:
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