Re-signed Ardie Savea has penned a four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby (NZ Rugby) which will keep him in Aotearoa through to the end of the 2025 season.
His contract terms will not be made public, so the questions many would be thinking could be; How much is he being paid directly from NZ Rugby? When will he enact a sabbatical clause? Why did he choose such a long extension? When can he freely speak to new prospective teams/nations? (The final question may be farsighted, yet it is current with the current discussion topics from World Rugby).
Savea, who captained the All Blacks for the first time in 2021 and produced consistently compelling performances throughout the Test season, has also extended his contract with the Hurricanes.
What can be read in media statements from NZ Rugby is that they just might have done everything in their powers to retain the star player. His signature at any European club would command over £1 million pounds per year. Yet the explanation from the player points to a more altruistic and harmonious relationship. Plus, Ardie wants a major trophy in his cabinet.
Re-signed Ardie Savea commits to NZ Rugby/All Blacks/Hurricanes til 2025
The re-signed Ardie Save said; “I’ve really enjoyed this season, both the good and the bad,” Savea said. “While it’s taken a while to finalize my contract, my wife Saskia and I are very grateful that I’m able to play here in New Zealand for another four years. Our family is settled and happy in New Zealand and there are things I want to challenge and pursue with New Zealand Rugby, the All Blacks and the ‘Canes, both on and off the field.
“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.”
After rising to captain status, his draw in ‘all black or yellow and black’ is undoubted. The performances in Hurricanes colours saw one Championship in 2014, so if any immediate goal is clear, that will be the proposed 2022 Super Rugby Pacific competition next season.
Four years is the number of years but, it will only be three full seasons of Super Rugby. As part of his new contract, Savea will have the option of playing his rugby offshore for a period of six-months during the 2024 season. Which country or competition that is, is his to announce – it might already be decided, with the new shirt sponsor Altrad an attractive arrangement that would see part of any prospective contract funded partially by the New Zealand union.
NZR general manager Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum said: “Ardie’s been loyal to his club Oriental Rongotai, his province Wellington and to the Hurricanes in Super Rugby during his playing career and he’s continuing that loyalty by recommitting to New Zealand Rugby for another four seasons. It’s a testament to the drive and passion Ardie has for the Hurricanes and All Blacks that he’s committed his long-term future to New Zealand.
“We look forward to his continued contribution to the teams and communities he represents so well.”
Savea looks to break new ground in contract/to influence the Game
In the last week, Savea celebrated the news that World Rugby eligibility laws had been amended to allow International players to serve a new three-year stand-down, before the ability to play for their birth nation, or that of a relative. With Savea having Samoan parents, his comments this week on the new rights to choose if others wish to return to International rugby with another nation, may have pre-empted this contract announcement.
Although, Savea appears to want to influence the game as much as break new ground on the field, in the board room, and in his private life.
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The Instagram post from the fashion designer and entrepreneur has shone a light on his part in negotiations and statements on his business acumen and interest in the direction of his career. View the innovative video in full above which gives great insight into his purpose. And in a quote from that post, he spoke of reading the fine details and how; “Nobody has negotiated their own deal to make themselves up there in New Zealand in this calibre”. That appears to be another personal development step for the senior leader. Yet, four years shows that he is prepared to stay in Wellington and be loyal to his franchise and country until the 2024 season (at least).
“You have got one more deal left. Potentially a couple more deals left. You can’t just be happy that you have done one deal and think you are the greatest of all time. Because you are not. You still have a lot of learning to do.”
Becoming respected widely for his post-match Samoan and ability to relate to the All Blacks market, he is also taking steps that are breaking new ground in professional sport. He said; “They tried to say you can’t do a deal, they tried to say athletes should stick to what they know. And we wanted to show that we can do a lot more than just carrying the ball and tackling somebody”. While not confrontational, it does buck the trend even while incorporating a sabbatical clause that allows six months away from New Zealand Rugby. If that means Japan or France, one can imagine the influence those foreign environments could further widen his scope and awareness of his place in the game.
Putting pen to paper, a re-signed Ardie Savea is better than one who might finish out his current term with the Hurricanes. It makes sense for the player to also wish to be more involved in the bargaining of a contract that at times, is locked behind NZ Rugby’s version of Fort Know. This open and honest application is both modern and identifies Savea as a driver of the future terms and conditions for fellow All Blacks.
His growing mana is as recognizable as his famous locks of hair. And fans will be glad he will play in NZ colours for the foreseeable future.
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