While humble in his self-assessment, new Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea will steel himself by having solid leadership around him, as he steps up into his new role in 2021.
Savea says he is honoured to have the opportunity to lead. “This is getting out of my comfort zone, but I feel like this is a time to step up and I’ve got a lot of great leaders beside me, as well as Colesy, who I’ve been observing. He’s a man of action, which is what I’m big on too.”
The action Savea is speaking of is usually observed by defenders, as the loose forward runs hard, bucking, and stepping, to fight for every inch on a Super Rugby field.
Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea ready for challenge
Although slightly apprehensive, the 27-year old told reporters when he was asked, he played it cool. “I was playing it down, but I knew deep down in my heart that this season, this time in my career, it’s time for me to step up and challenge myself and get out of the comfort zone and try something I’m not used to.”
With the full backing of Hurricanes coaching staff, management, and quite definitely the majority of fans, the loose forward has been asked to fill the role vacated by TJ Perenara. The halfback has taken a sabbatical, and in a clear nod to the long-term future, the Wellington-raised Savea has the full endorsement.
"I'm not only representing myself, but my franchise, my brothers and more importantly my family and everyone back in Samoa and at home."
Ardie Savea: I'm standing loud and proud to be Samoan, to be Kiwi https://t.co/T5qOlMiwAJ
— RNZ Sport (@RNZSport) February 11, 2021
As reported on the ‘Canes website, head coach Jason Holland says Savea is a fantastic talent. “Ardie has been an integral part of our club for a long time and has the complete respect of everyone. He has played a major part in leading this team in his own way for the last few years and the boys will be desperate to follow him in the way they have followed Colesy and TJ in recent years.”
Colesy; Dane Coles, will still play a major part in the group. As will older brother Julian, who returns to full-time Super Rugby after his SOS call last season. In fact, Ardie joked that he was the first to tell Jules’ that he’d be leading the team. “When I told him, I said he has to listen to me now.
“Having Jules back home is awesome and seeing him in a space that he hasn’t been for so long. He’s in good nick, he’s happy. I’m also big on connection and family, which are part of our team values. We’ve got great leaders who can lead on and off the field, so for me it’s about bringing each individual’s strengths out.”
‘Canes must aim to continue parity with Crusaders in 2021 title race
After last year’s results, the Hurricanes are the likeliest major challenge to the Crusaders clench on the Super Rugby silverware. That can certainly occur with new Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea. His recent ability to bust tackles has often been inspiring. And as skipper, leading by example is Captaincy 101.
“That’s what I’d like to do too. I’m not a man of many words”. That will begin in his 100th cap game versus the Blues on March 27.
In a perfect scenario, the new captain will lead out his side on home soil, for a 7:05pm kick-off. Even while fan’s embraced mid-afternoon games, the derby game should be a huge seller. Plenty of fans from both sides are expected, and a win would begin Savea’s tenure with a Bang!
Aiming to compete for the 2022 trophy, both the player’s and coach’s must plan to lay down a marker that champions the Crusaders must match. They will face neighbours, the Highlanders, in Dunedin the night before. And most pundits believe Scott Robertson will have his eyes fixed on Wellington and Auckland, as his two most formidable foes.
Add to that, the adaption of Super Rugby law variations and it means that sides have to ‘click’ immediately, otherwise, the gap to your rivals might be too much to counter. That is what the Chiefs found right through Super Rugby Aotearoa, which is a fierce challenge each round. The only respite being a Bye week; which the Hamilton team earn early, while Ardie Savea and his team need to wait for Round Three.
In terms of the wear-and-tear on players, that schedule may just be a healthy one. With two games in, they can then address any issues, before a block of four games, before the next rest week. somewhat easier than a regular trans-continental competition but, it’s one that still has challenges for everyone.
Ardie Savea loves a challenge. He has gone from Under 20 representative, to a rare All Blacks apprentice role that now sees him as one of the premier player’s in World Rugby. Now recognized by both his Super Rugby franchise as well as his province as a natural choice for leader, it seems he can do no wrong. And trust that Ardie will take his jovial smile with him even in the massive task of attempting to win the Hurricanes’ second title.
Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 1: Highlanders v Crusaders, March 26 | Hurricanes v Blues, Mar 27
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