Savea shows true grit for first home test

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 10/09/2012
Julian Savea
CRAIG SIMCOX/FAIRFAX NZ
ADDED IMPETUS: Julian Savea, with Liam Messam in support, bursts upfield.

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Tawera Kerr-Barlow still upbeat despite injury likely ruling him out of All Blacks Wales without Sam Warburton for England 'redemption' before All Blacks series Whitelock hamstrung by injury and scratched from Super Rugby game against Blues Jeff To'omaga-Allen studiously avoiding any thoughts of All Blacks selection Highlanders fullback Ben Smith confirmed as All Blacks vice-captain for 2016 season Former All Blacks fullback Greg Cooper joins Stade Francais coaching team Leigh Halfpenny in line for Toulon return ahead of Wales' tour to New Zealand SBW gets award for giving RWC medal to English fan who got offside with security Wales legend Adam Jones reveals his Lions XV to face the All Blacks in 2017 New Zealand Maori will face Harlequins in London to finish their northern tour

Saturday's 21-5 win over Argentina might prove to have been an important match in the burgeoning All Blacks career of Julian Savea.

The Wellington wing who is shy and quietly spoken has tended to take those characteristics on to the paddock, at various levels of the game. Despite his talent, there's been a tentativeness about Savea's play.

The Pumas, though, were an opponent against whom Savea knew he had to "man up".

That he was able to should do wonders for the 22-year-old's confidence.

"It comes down to preparation and I prepared well," Savea said after scoring a try and generally impressing in his first test on Westpac Stadium.

"It was very special for me, playing for your country in front of your hometown and with all your friends and family there to support you."

And it got better when Savea just had to stroll a metre and put the ball down after another Wellington player, Ma'a Nonu, gifted him his fourth test try.

"I didn't really expect that pass from Ma'a. It was a selfless act," Savea said of his Oriental-Rongotai clubmate's generosity.

The match hadn't loomed as one that would suit Savea. The rain and high wind meant catching kicks wouldn't be easy and the high ball has been one of his "work-ons".

"We just knew that if it got kicked back, we had to come close together as a back three." Whether the player dropped the ball or caught it, they would be there to support each other, he said.

Savea, Israel Dagg and Cory Jane were all sound at the back, as well as having strong workrates. Savea had come on to the left wing in place of another Wellington man, Hosea Gear, and may have done enough to secure a start against South Africa on Saturday.

"I'm just trying to play the best I can and me and Hosea are pushing each other. If he's playing well and I'm playing well, it doesn't matter who plays really," he said.

Like everyone at Westpac Stadium, Savea wasn't sure what to think when the power went off just as the second half was about to resume.

"I thought someone was playing a trick on us. I didn't expect that. We were all out on the field and it was still ‘lights on' and then everything went off and I was like, ‘Fireworks?"'

Ad Feedback

- Wellington

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content