Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

10 things you need to know about...Ardie Savea

Ardie Savea. Photo / Getty Images
Ardie Savea. Photo / Getty Images

Ardie Savea is so good he's been compared to All Black legend Michael Jones. The Wellington star is set to be unleashed on world rugby during the series against Wales.

1) Yes, Ardie Savea is the younger brother of All Black wing Julian Savea. In the old days, forwards were bigger than backs, but not anymore. Loose forward Ardie, aged 22, stands 1.88m and is 100kg. Big brother Julian is considerably bigger - he's 1.92m and a whopping 109kg. Ardie was told to bulk up for top level rugby but is still a touch on the light side. Ironically, Julian's problems of late seem to be the other way inclined.

See u soon Africa ???? #joburg #durban #CanesTour @juliansavea7

A photo posted by @ardiesavea on


2) Before we go any further, best to predict that one of New Zealand's great debates could erupt - Ardie Savea v Sam Cane for the All Blacks' No. 7 jersey. Cane is a terrific technician and worker. Savea is a dasher, like no other. Cane is already in the leadership group and seen as a potential All Black captain, which puts a significant hurdle in Savea's way. Savea is a great bench impact option for now although not a lock/loosie candidate. It will be fascinating to see how this potential game breaker with superstar quality fits in.

3) Savea has a history of leadership. He was the Rongotai College head prefect, the first XV captain, and led New Zealand schoolboys and under-20 teams. He made the first XV in Year 10 and notched up 50 games - a rare feat. Rongotai College old boys include the great Ma'a Nonu and a handful of other All Blacks such as brother Julian. But its most famous sporting son is football star Wynton Rufer.

4) Savea was still at school when he got a neck tattoo - his surname surrounded by six stars which represent the members of his family.


5) There is no higher compliment than being compared to Michael Jones. When Savea signed for the Hurricanes in 2012, assistant coach Richard Watt said: "He brings something else to a seven role with his sheer athleticism and pace. He's almost a throwback to the Michael Jones-type seven. He's got some pretty special qualities. He has that sheer pace and he's pretty brave and doesn't mind sticking his head in the dark places when he gets there."

6) The Saveas' father Masina played second five-eighth for Oriental-Rongotai in the 1990s, and mum Lina was a Wellington premier club netballer.

Happy Mother's Day mum???? #YouTheRealMVP

A photo posted by @ardiesavea on


7) Savea is the only official All Black apprentice. He had just a couple of Super Rugby games under the belt when included as a non-player on the tour to Japan and Europe in late 2013. This did not go down well everywhere. Former All Black captain Taine Randell wrote: "No one can crystal ball on players, it's dangerous ground."

Weather shining in wellys - great day today ???? - happy Father's Day y'all !

A photo posted by @ardiesavea on


8) Ardie was interviewed about childhood days as Julian prepared to make his test debut in 2012.

"We didn't have a car when we were young, not till I was maybe 13 or 14, so we were always walking places or catching taxis to training or trying to get rides with someone...it was hard sometimes. But we saw that and we always wanted to repay (their parents) for everything they've done for us...how they wanted us to achieve," Ardie told Stuff.

9) If Savea wasn't a professional rugby player, he would be a fashion designer or teacher. Savea lists fashion and clothing as his chief hobby.

Wellington cup race day ??

A photo posted by @ardiesavea on


10) He has already struck controversy, doing a u-turn out of the Olympic sevens squad, and being among players stood down for "marginally" breaking a Hurricanes curfew in South Africa.

- NZ Herald

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