Ardie Savea: All Blacks star looking to guide New Zealand back to the summit

Savea is part of the New Zealand side looking to win their fourth Rugby World Cup

Sign up to our free sport newsletter for all the latest news on everything from cycling to boxing

Sign up to our free sport email for all the latest news

Thanks for signing up to the
Sport email

New Zealand’s hopes of a famous hat trick of Rugby World Cup wins were dashed in 2019 when an imperious England swept them aside with a 19-7 win in the semi-finals.

Four years on, and the All Blacks have stooped to fourth in the world rankings, lowly by their own high expectations, and suffered a demoralising 35-7 thrashing at the hands of defending champions South Africa in a pre-World Cup warm-up at Twickenham.

Despite that, they head to France amongst the favourites and eyeing up a return to the summit of world rugby. To do so, they will have to rely on the experience and capabilities of some of their star players. Few will be more important to that effort than the commanding back row star, Ardie Savea.

Born in Wellington in 1983 to Samoan parents, Ardie and his family had a humble upbringing with his father, who immigrated to the country as a teenager, working overnight in a bakery.

As he grew older, Savea’s talents as a Rugby player soon began to show. At age 18, he was head boy of his school – Rongotai College in suburban Wellington – and captain of the 1st XV.


While some might take time to mature into the professional game, the then 18-year-old took to it like a duck to water. Fresh out of college, he signed immediately for provincial side Wellington, scoring 17 tries in 36 appearances between 2012 and 2013.

Those eye-catching displays caught the attention of Super Rugby, with Savea joining Hurricanes in 2013 on an initial two-year-deal, a move that would see him link up with his older brother Julian Savea who signed for the team two years prior.

Despite having only just moved up into Super League Rugby, Savea was already beginning to attract attention from the All Blacks. He had already made his sevens debut in 2012 but, the following year, he would travel to Europe with the rugby union side for their tour of Europe.

Savea was not selected as a player, but rather a non-playing apprentice, with coach Steve Hansen saying at the time the move was designed to introduce him to “the way of the All Black life.” It spoke to the potential that the All Blacks set-up saw in the bruising back-row talent who had yet to nail down a regular starting berth in Super Rugby at this point.

Ardie Savea is preparing for his second Rugby World Cup with New Zealand

By 2015, that regular spot in the Hurricanes would arrive and the following year they would go on to win the Super Rugby title. 2016 was also the year that Savea finally made the switch, withdrawing from the sevens national team and making himself available for the All Blacks. His debut would arrive in June of that year as a replacement against Wales at Eden Park.

Since then, Savea has made himself an indispensable member of the All Blacks squad. In 75 caps to date, he has scored 21 tries and won six Rugby Championships. In 2021, he captained the side for the first time against Australia.


After this coming World Cup, Savea has announced he will take a sabbatical break from the national side to play in Japan for six months with the Kobelco Kobe Steelers. He will return to the Hurricanes in mid-2024 upon which he will be available for national team selection again. As per All Blacks selection policy, players signed for teams outside New Zealand are unable to be selected for the national side.

Off the field, Savea has an interest in fashion and has had a long-standing clothing brand. He is also signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports International stable which also works with South African captain, Siya Kolisi.

Source: Read Full Article