WELLINGTON – All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby until 2021, after turning his back on a lucrative move to Europe.
New Zealand media had reported that Savea had agreed in principle to join French club Pau after next year’s Rugby World Cup, but the 25-year-old Wellington Hurricanes back-rower has had a rethink.
“Truly blessed to have re-signed with NZ for 2020-2021,” Savea said on his Instagram page on Wednesday.
“To be honest was a very tough decision but being at home with family and close friends and the opportunity to play for @allblacks @hurricanesrugby @wgtn_rugby I couldn’t leave.”
Savea made his debut for the All Blacks in 2016, and has spent much of his international career as a backup to openside flank Sam Cane.
Injuries to other All Blacks forwards gave him the chance to start seven tests this season, however, and he made the most of his moment in the spotlight.
He was arguably New Zealand’s best player in Tests against Argentina and South Africa during the Rugby Championship, earning plaudits from the national team’s coaches.
Cane broke a bone in his neck during the 32-30 victory over the Springboks in Pretoria in early October.
While he is expected to make a full recovery, the seriousness of the injury undoubtedly changed All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s thinking on the composition of his squad for next year’s World Cup defence.
🎙️“We’re delighted that Ardie has re-signed for two more years. He’s an outstanding player who had a huge workload for the @AllBlacks in 2018. We look forward to seeing him in action again in 2019 and beyond.” - Steve Hansen on @ardiesavea resigning untill 2021. pic.twitter.com/PQEQ1PLhzb— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) December 19, 2018
The new contract with NZR ends a potential Savea family reunion in France’s Top 14.
Savea’s older brother Julian was granted early release from his NZR contract this year after being dropped by the All Blacks and joined Toulon.
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Truely blessed to have re-signed with NZ for 2020-2021. To be honest was a very tough decision but being at home with family and close friends and the opportunity to play for @allblacks @hurricanesrugby @wgtn_rugby I couldn’t leave. Thank you to the fans for the on going support. Can’t wait to get stuck in to 2019 with my canes brothers🤘🏽. LESGOOOOO🔥 #GratefulAlways #Aishaish
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