I like Ardie Savea at No 8 and I wonder if the Hurricanes have happened upon an excellent alternative position for him.

It has often been suggested Savea hasn't got the height or body mass to be a great openside flanker, and the same could be said of him at No 8, but he has explosiveness and an abundance of ball skills.

Every time he went off the back of the scrum, he had the Highlanders loose forwards in trouble, which meant the eyes of the inside backs were looking in and they had to be prepared to do someone else's job on defence.

Savea was impressive there and it's a role he could also play for the All Blacks. Currently he provides an excellent impact role on the side of the scrum off the reserves bench for Steve Hansen's team, but he could also do an excellent job at No 8, with Kieran Read perhaps moving to lock or blindside flanker.


He may not provide the lineout option others do, but the Hurricanes and All Blacks could compensate for that, and besides, Richie McCaw turned himself into a good jumper.

If you didn't see Savea's performance at the Cake Tin, it's worth watching. As a No 7, he normally has to attend every breakdown, but at No 8, he was allowed to get his running game going more, and he did it in a slightly different channel.

His linking play is excellent and his ball carrying is superb. I liked what I saw of him there.

To summarise the weekend, the Blues again showed promise, but they lacked the character evident in the Crusaders. They did enough to win that match in Christchurch but don't seem to have the resolve and determination of the Crusaders.

The Crusaders gave another team a massive start but showed that championship quality, and that was evident throughout.

Scott Robertson's side did it once again and in the end they didn't scrape home, they did it comfortably.

As a Blues supporter, you would have to be worried about how the rest of the season is going to pan out. This was their third straight defeat to a New Zealand side and they could hardly have asked for a worse start.

Apart from Savea's performance for the Hurricanes, there was a lot to like about that game. The match-up between the halfbacks was excellent and an injury-depleted Highlanders team performed well.

Malakai Fekitoa's injury was a big blow because he was excellent in the first 20 minutes and the Highlanders showed good resolve to hang in there for as long as they did.

The Hurricanes are vulnerable on defence at times and they might be concerned about that, but on the other hand, they are dangerous from all parts of field. Their players have ambition and confidence and they will make you pay.

The Highlanders left a lot of points out there. Ultimately, the Hurricanes got a comfortable win and they look good. But the Highlanders will still be a threat and play a big part in this competition when they get a few players back.