Former All Blacks winger Julian Savea, whose nickname was “The Bus”, has officially joined the Wellington Hurricanes for the remainder of their Super Rugby Aotearoa season, the team announced.
Savea, who returned from France after the Top 14 season was cancelled due to the current unstoppable coronavirus outbreak, said he was keen on continuing his rugby career at home, where it all started.
Hurricanes coach Jason Holland confirmed that Savea would only join the team as a replacement for Ben Lam, who played his 50th game on Saturday but is about to join the Bordeaux team.
Rugby Union - New Zealand All Blacks v British and Irish Lions - Lions Tour - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand - July 8, 2017 - New Zealand's Julian Savea in action with Lions' Liam Williams. Image credit REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo
The Hurricanes, who ended the Canterbury Crusaders’ four-year winning streak in Christchurch earlier on Saturday, have only two matches left in the domestic competition.
“He has played 100 games for the Hurricanes and is a big part of what’s happened here in the past,” Holland explained to the present reporters.
“We’re looking forward to the experience he can bring in for two weeks and help the boys along and compete in that outside backs spot.”
Savea smiled, very pleased at the idea to return to his hometown club.
He indeed posted on Twitter: “Looking forward to re-joining my brothers down at the @Hurricanesrugby for the remainder of the season. Blessed to get this opportunity and very grateful! Back to me where it all started.”
Julian Savea in action for Toulon in 2018. Image credit Photosport
Holland also explained that inside the centre Ngani Laumape he would need surgery for his broken arm and will be out for the rest of the season.
The Hurricanes have this week off before they host the Waikato Chiefs on August 8, then they will finish their season against the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin planned on August 15.
“We’ve just played four weeks in a row, I don’t know if we could have gone five,” Holland pointed out, and talking about his broken arm, he said that “Any more injuries in our backs and we might have had to see (assistant coach) Cory Jane out there”, meaning that the recent break of his arm had come at the ‘right time’ for his team.