Ardie Savea

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea questions four-hour bus trips for Super Rugby Pacific

The New Zealand teams have shifted to Queenstown to try and negate the threat of Covid-19 interrupting the competition, but with no floodlit grounds on offer, night games – which are favourable for broadcasters – have to be played out of town.

Initially they were going to be played at Rugby Park in Invercargill, but one day after that news, New Zealand Rugby announced they would instead be played at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, as they said the facilities there, including the roof, made it the teams’ favoured option.

Ardie Savea to captain Hurricanes in Super Rugby Pacific

Savea, who was presented with the prestigious Kel Tremain Trophy at the 2021 NZ Rugby annual awards as recognition for his outstanding form throughout the season, said he was "honoured'' to lead the Hurricanes during the Super Rugby Pacific season.

When Savea plays the Crusaders in the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific in Dunedin on Saturday night, it will mark his 109th cap for the franchise since his debut in 2013.

"Obviously, we are starting the new season in our team bubbles down here in Queenstown, but we're looking forward to the challenge,'' Savea said.

Ardie Savea open to bringing goggles back after World Cup trial run

Savea made headlines around the globe two years ago when it was announced that he would wear protective eyewear for his side’s pool match against Canada.

During a second half appearance in his side’s 63-0 rout in that match, the 28-year-old only wore the goggles for a short amount of time, and never used them for New Zealand’s following clash against Namibia as they fogged up in the Tokyo humidity.

Savea and Elder headline list of NZ rugby awards nominees

 

Black Ferns debutant Liana Mikaele-Tu'u has been nominated for Black Ferns player of the year alongside loose forwards Les Elder (captain) and Kennedy Simon.

Black Ferns Sevens Captain Sarah Hirini has been nominated for two awards. She will contest the Black Ferns Sevens player of the year award alongside Gayle Broughton and Tyla Nathan-Wong.

Hirini is also up for the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year, alongside Māori All Blacks Captain Ash Dixon and All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith.

All Blacks skipper ready for more big hits

World champions South Africa go into the Rugby Championship test at Townsville's North Queensland Stadium on the back of successive losses to Australia and having just lost the world number one ranking to New Zealand.

"Regardless of previous results, when the two nations collide, it's a big one," Savea said.

"They're under pressure with the previous results they've had, under pressure back home in their own country and when you say it like that, it's a scary thought.

All Blacks captaincy a dream for Savea

Savea will captain the All Blacks for the first time, having been appointed to the role for the Rugby Championship in the absence of Sam Whitelock and Aaron Smith.

The 52-test flanker has thought about what it will be like to lead his teammates out on to the field and stand at the front of the haka.

"You know it's something you kind of only really dream about when you're a kid," Savea said.

"I'm just happy and grateful that mum and dad will be watching on the TV...watching the All Blacks go out and seeing their son go out too and lead so it'll be awesome."

The 'very different' leadership style that Savea will bring All Blacks

Savea, who is set to make his 53rd appearance for New Zealand, will take on the role after stand-in skipper Sam Whitelock and first-choice halves Richie Mo’unga and Aaron Smith were left out of the squad with the players expecting babies.

Regular captain Sam Cane is currently sidelined due to injury while Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett have been named vice-captains.

“Ardie has been a key part of our leadership group and I love that he has a very different style of leadership,” All Blacks head coach Ian Foster told Newstalk ZB.

All Blacks reveal their new leaders

Sam Whitelock, who led the side in the first two Bledisloe Cup tests, didn't travel to Perth on Thursday, as he's remaining in New Zealand for the birth of the newest addition to his family.

Veteran halfback Aaron Smith, who captained the All Blacks in the first test against Fiji last month, also didn't make the trip.

Savea led the Hurricanes in Super Rugby this year in the absence of TJ Perenara.

He has played 52 tests since making his debut in 2016 and came off the bench in the All Blacks' first Rugby Championship test at Eden Park earlier this month.

Savea opens up on possibility of filling in for Sam Cane as All Blacks captain

Cane has been sidelined for four-to-six months with a pectoral injury that will likely keep him out of the July test schedule, which is expected comprise of two Italy tests and a clash against Fiji.

While speaking to media earlier this week, Savea labelled the loss of Cane as a “massive blow”, but was hopeful his fellow loose forward can make a swift recovery.

“It’s unfortunate but I know with Sammy, he’s strong and he’s been through the trenches before with previous injuries so I’m sure he’ll come back stronger and better,” Savea said.

Ardie Savea knew it was time to step up

"Alfie (Hurricanes coach Jason Holland) approached me and Colesy (Dane Coles) talked to me and at first I was like, 'Oh nah', you know, playing it down. But, I knew deep down in my heart that this season, at this time of my career, I think it's time for me to step up and step out of my comfort zone and try something that I'm not used to. I usually just go out there and play, but it's time to lead."

The loose forward succeeds All Blacks teammates Dane Coles and TJ Perenara, who shared the leadership duties in 2020.

Savea said he's been inspired by the hooker and halfback.