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Julian Savea says shock switch to League still possible

By Ian Cameron
Julian Savea.

All Black winger Julian Savea says he hasn’t closed the door on the possibility of one day playing Rugby League.

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According to a report in Stuff.co.nz, Savea said he has long held aspiration to play League at some stage, although he says Rugby Union hasn’t given him ‘reason’ to leave as yet.

Savea is quoted as saying: “It’s always been in the back of my mind.”

“I haven’t had any reason to leave rugby, [but] I’d definitely think about it. You can’t not think about it and not say no straight away, weigh up the pros and cons and what’s best for my family.”

Savea has fallen out of favour with the All Blacks, despite a strong Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes.

Capped 54 times for the All Blacks, Savea says he is still focused on getting back into his national team once again. The 6’3, 108kg winger’s try-scoring ability is beyond question, having scored an astonishing 46 tries for the All Blacks.

In 2015 he scored eight tries in eight matches, including a stunning treble against France in the RWC 2015 quarterfinal, one of which secured him the International Rugby Players Try of the Year Award. He was also nominated for the International Player of the Year Award in 2015.

However, 2016 was a quiet year for the man they call ‘The Bus’ and in 2017 he hasn’t yet been able to force his way back into All Black contention.

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He had one stage been linked to a move to Aviva Premiership, although that claim was rubbished by his partner on social media. He has signed until 2019 with the NZ Rugby.

Savea debuted internationally in 2012 and quickly proved himself as a powerful runner with ball in hand, scoring nine tries in his debut season. In 2014 started breaking records, scoring eight tries in eight Tests.

He won the IRB’s Junior Player of the Year Award in 2010 after scoring eight tries for the Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20 side in Argentina. He has also made appearances for New Zealand Secondary Schools and New Zealand Sevens.

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William 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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