Four months off rugby was not enough for Julian Savea.

The All Black left wing has struggled through the start of Super rugby and been left out of the Hurricanes side to play the Kings this weekend.

His absence was a chance, coach Chris Boyd said, to give others a go.

Sure is but even if Jason Woodward or Matt Proctor from the bench, produce man of the match performances you'd be confident Savea would return to the side after the Canes bye the following week.


It's more a warning for Savea to get himself and his game in order before the Canes host the Jaguares on April 9.

Everything about this situation smells of woolly thinking.

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Boyd noted that Savea had let his fitness work fall away after a huge workload in 2015 through Super rugby and the World Cup and had not been at his best in the opening month of this year's Super rugby series.

"We have a high expectation of Julian every time he takes the field. It's the same as all the prominent players, the expectation's high," Boyd said.

So why did Boyd select Savea to start the tournament when he "probably wasn't as disciplined as he could've been around keeping up some of his work."

Fellow World Cuppers Dane Coles, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Victor Vito, TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett all turned up fit and ready to play.

If Savea was in rough shape as the fitness trainers would be able to gauge, Boyd should have given the wing the message then that he was not going to play until he reached acceptable conditioning levels.

Choosing Savea on reputation was not the answer as Boyd has discovered.

Persisting with a public defence of the wing's sluggish attitude is equally flawed.

Listen: Hurricanes Dane Coles on the Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast