It hasn’t been the best of seasons for Julian Savea, the 54-Test All Black has found himself in and out of the All Blacks squad this year and the same applied for his club, the Hurricanes.
For the first two Test matches against the British and Irish Lions, Savea wasn’t in the matchday squad but he did start on the left wing for the third and final Test which resulted in an unprecedented 15-15 draw and ultimately, a tied series.
After the Lions tour, Savea found himself behind Nehe Milner Skudder and Wes Goosen in their Super Rugby semi-final defeat to the Lions in Johannesburg. It got worse for the 27-year-old when Steve Hansen left him out of the squad for the opening two rounds of the Rugby Championship against the Wallabies.
With all this happening, there was speculation surrounding the playing future of Savea, as the New Zealand Herald reported that the winger had a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave the Hurricanes halfway through his four-year contract if he so wished.
The Chiefs were reportedly keen on his signature, to replace the Leinster-bound James Lowe but Savea has decided to stick with the Hurricanes, though admitting that the offer from the Chiefs was tempting.
“When you have that option it definitely is [tempting]. I put a lot of things on the table. There was only one other franchise I was looking at. I know if any team is going to help me get back to the best it is the Hurricanes,” Savea told the NZ Herald.
Ultimately, Savea is using the opportunity provided by his non-inclusion with the All Blacks to reflect on his game and to see where he needs to improve.
“When I first found out I didn’t make the team it was disappointing but there’s a silver lining. It was an opportunity to sit back and reflect on where I am, and it was exciting that I want to be better and get back in the environment. I know I’ve got a lot of things to work on and I’m excited to do that.”
Savea is currently playing in the Mitre10 Cup with provincial side, Wellington and one would expect Savea to get back to the form which yielded 46 Test tries in 54 Tests for the All Blacks.