Ardie Savea has accepted the importance of wearing a mouthguard and shed light on why his brief experiment with goggles has not returned since the Rugby World Cup.
At various times over the past three years Savea, the standout Hurricanes and All Blacks loose forward, has been in the spotlight for repeatedly not wearing a mouthguard.
While not against the laws of the game as such, Savea broke the New Zealand Rugby Players' collective agreement by not wearing one.
The All Blacks are expected to set an example to younger players and after Savea was last spotted not wearing a mouthguard in the loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane, New Zealand Rugby issued a statement saying they were "incredibly disappointed".
Wearing a mouthguard can cause breathing difficulties for some, but the message has clearly got through with Savea wearing a pink number in the All Blacks' first loss to the Pumas last weekend and promising to continue doing so from now on.
"To be honest it was my fault and a pill I had to swallow after being told a couple of years ago and continuing not to wear one," Savea said as the All Blacks attempt to refresh before their final test of the year against the Pumas next week.
"It's a hard lesson I've had to learn. My wife talked to me about integrity and following that so it's been awesome to wear my mouthguard. It fits really well, I wore it on the weekend.
"I understand the role I play in being someone that a lot of people look up to and I've got to keep my integrity. My wife doesn't want to see me with no teeth and my daughter picked the colour so it's pink, nice and bright, I like it."
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At least year's World Cup, after previously discovering blurry vision in his left eye, Savea opted to wear goggles to provide a form of protection.
He first wore the goggles in the second half of the pool game against Canada in Oita. A broken strap forced him to abandon the goggles before a replacement pair was donned.
The following week against Namibia in Tokyo, Savea didn't use the goggles because the humid conditions caused them to fog up before the game.
Savea explained why they have not been used since.
"I had my eye checked after the World Cup and it's a scratch in the cornea so it can't get any better - only stay what it is or get worse. With the goggles it was quite hard to wear them they kept fogging up in Japan and it was probably the wrong time to test them because of the humidity.
"At the moment I'm not wearing anything, just putting them aside and playing without them."