Wellington coach Chris Boyd is urging caution as the hype around his star openside Ardie Savea intensifies.
The teenager put in another eyecatching display during the Lions' 36-28 NPC win over North Harbour on Saturday, scoring arguably the try of the season.
Lions captain Jeremy Thrush was among those shaking their head at the openside's pure speed after he outstripped Harbour's outside backs on a scintillating 50 metre run.
"He surprises you, old Ardie. You think you are in a good position in support and out of nowhere the seven jersey comes flying past and all of a sudden he's in front of you," he said.
"He's blessed with a bit of pace and he uses it well. He's going well and he's going to be a great player if he can look after himself . . . he might give his brother [Julian] a go for pace."
Savea is Wellington's leading tryscorer with five, but Boyd said he was still adjusting to the physical demands of the game at the top level.
"He'll thrive in a game like that because he has youth and exuberance and skills to burn, so the challenge will be when we get to the more direct physical type of games.
"But as you saw there is a special array of skills there. The thing that was smart about that try to me was that when he had that last defender to beat he didn't run away from him, he ran at him and fended him off."
That last defender happened to be former All Blacks wing Rudi Wulf, a pretty decent tackler.
Savea seemed a tad embarrassed by all the attention and rightly pointed out there were game-breakers throughout the Wellington squad. He felt he had "a couple of things" to work on in his game and wasn't fussed whether he played No 8 or openside.
He said he isn't feeling the pinch of the tight schedule in his first NPC season . . . not surprising considering he won't turn 19 till October 14.
- © Fairfax NZ News