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All the action between the Hurricanes and the Reds.
Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea is bracing for an “emotional” departure from teammate Ngani Laumape this weekend, but the future of his own playing career remains uncertain.
Savea, the mainstay of the Hurricanes and key forward for the All Blacks, is out of contract with New Zealand rugby at the end of this year and has a big decision to make between staying or pursuing a career elsewhere.
The 27-year-old has spoken openly in the past of a desire to test himself elsewhere, even considering the idea of skipping codes at the NRL.
But for now, Savea says he’s focused on the task at hand: leading his squad in what could be their last Super Rugby Transtasman game of the season against the Reds, with a place in the final still possible. but unlikely.
“Aw shucks. I signed a five-year contract in Europe so… No, just kidding bro,” Savea joked when asked about his future with the Hurricanes.
“I still haven’t decided what to do yet. I kind of focused on repairing my injury. That was my main focus for the past two weeks. I haven’t really thought about it. actually at the moment. But I should. Wait and see.
“Being a leader of this team, and one of the leaders, is just staying in the moment and staying present. I think for me my state of mind has actually been trying to prepare the boys for this week. . I haven’t really thought about it too far. Probably after this week and next week I’ll start thinking about it. As of yet, I haven’t thought about it at all. “
Savea has said that the All Blacks jersey remains a big factor in his decision, but that it will ultimately be guided by a higher power.
“To be the best in the world you have to play against the best in the world. And that can only happen on the international stage.
“The All Blacks and the jersey have always been something really special for me and for many other players around the world.
“I love to play there, but you never know where the holy spirit is taking me and where God is taking me. I just live in the present moment, I live in the present, and wherever the spirit takes me. take it, I’ll go there. “
One player who will be leaving the Hurricanes is Laumape, a close friend and longtime teammate of Savea, who has signed a three-year contract with French club Stade Français.
Savea paid tribute to the assaulting midfielder and hopes for a fitting farewell in his final game in front of the Wellington home crowd.
“He was amazing. I still remember the first phone call when he called me when he was at the Warriors. He asked me ‘how would I do in union’ and I told him he could be there. ‘one of the greatest. For him to come into the union and get into a top team in Super Rugby and be where he is now, I think that’s a testament to himself and his family.
“It’s going to be quite emotional. I have forged a very strong bond with Ngans off the pitch. So I’m delighted he’s going there for his last home race and just to have fun and be free. did amazing things for us with this jersey, but most importantly not [just] on the pitch, but I think he’s done so much more for the players off the pitch, which is a testament to that. “
Savea isn’t the only great player to have signed up for the Hurricanes, with Jordie Barrett also out of contract at the end of this year.
Regardless of what the future holds for what could be a new team beyond 2021, Savea says he will appreciate another opportunity to play and be with the tight-knit squad.
“We all know deep down that this will be the last time this group will be together. And it’s a bit creepy.
“We don’t know who is staying or who is moving away from Ngans. But hopefully after and when the season is over and when we have our post-game function, we can celebrate these guys in the right way and honor them. “
It remains to be seen whether Savea will be part of it.