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Savea commits to All Blacks, ditches code switch

AFP News Agency

30th Nov, 2021. 11:29 pm
Ardie Savea

Ardie Savea. Image courtesy: Planet Rugby

All Blacks superstar Ardie Savea committed to play rugby in New Zealand for another four years Tuesday, jettisoning talk of a code switch to rugby league.

New Zealand rugby said the highly-rated backrow and sometime All Black captain will stay with the side “through to the end of the 2025 season.”

The 28-year-old also signed a deal to keep him with Super Rugby’s Hurricanes until the end of 2023.

As part of the contract “Savea will have the option of playing his rugby offshore for a period of six months during the 2024 season.”

Savea had floated the idea of playing rugby league, inspired by cross-code superstar and compatriot Sonny Bill Williams.

He had initially agreed to a deal with French club Pau in late 2018, only to stay in New Zealand after a last-minute change of mind.

“While it’s taken a while to finalise my contract, my wife Saskia and I are very grateful that I’m able to play here in New Zealand for another four years,” Savea said.

After a bruising few months for the All Blacks — who ended their season with rare back-to-back defeats against Ireland and France — Savea said he would take a few weeks to recharge.

“Right now, I’m looking forward to really getting away from rugby and getting mentally refreshed to come back and be better in the 2022 season,” he said.

Savea debuted for the All Blacks in 2016 and has played 59 Tests. He has run out 108 times for the Hurricanes and in 2023 will celebrate a decade with the club.

“It’s great to get Ardie re-signed. He is a quality man, a key member of our team and a hell of a player so it’s awesome to have him recommit to the club,” said Hurricanes Head Coach Jason Holland.

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