Second five has been a revolving door for the All Blacks since Ma’a Nonu’s retirement in 2015. Julian Savea tells Jim Kayes he wants to put an end to that.
Julian Savea wants to play second five for the All Blacks.
It sounds outrageous - it’s certainly audacious, but Savea is serious.
“The midfield is where I want to end up,” he says. “I want to be more of a play maker, in behind the forwards, making the calls.
“And the goal is to get back there [the All Blacks]. It’s why I’m trying to play the best rugby I can.”
When asked, almost to confirm, that he wants to be the All Blacks second five, Savea says, in his soft but determined voice - “who wouldn’t want to be?”.
Sio Julian Savea’s All Blacks stats are pretty straight forward. He played 54 tests, started 51 of them, and all of those were on the left wing.
But the key ingredient for any wing is pace, and while Savea isn’t a slouch, at 31 he knows there are plenty of others who are quicker.
But that’s not such an issue in the midfield where his size could be a real strength if he is able to bust holes, stay up in the tackle and offload, and hammer the opposition on defence.
Savea is 1.92m tall and listed by the Hurricanes at 103kgs, down 5kgs from his All Blacks playing weight.
The man Dave Rennie dubbed ‘The Bus’ because of his size and strength, looks lean and says he feels in the best shape he’s ever been in - but he is still a big man.
He is 10cm taller than Ma’a Nonu who, at 108kgs, was the same weight as Savea played at for the All Blacks. Sonny Bill Williams is also listed at 108kgs and is a fraction shorter than Savea.
So physically there’s no reason why he can’t be effective at second five. He just needs games there to show his worth.
Continue this story in our Apr/May issue.
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