Former All Black world champion Julian Savea, who left Toulon and the Top 14 through the back door in mid-May, has found refuge in his long-standing club, the Wellington Hurricanes, Super rugby club Aotearoa announced on Monday.
Savea, 2015 world champion with the All Blacks, had a difficult start after arriving in the harbor in the summer of 2018.
"I am going to ask for a DNA test. It was not Savea that we recruited but + Savéapas +. They had to change it on the plane", had thus squeaked the Toulon president of the time Mourad Boudjellal, in February 2019 , adding that the player "was no longer welcome in Toulon".
The 29-year-old winger, nicknamed "the bus", had returned to New Zealand a year before the end of his contract, in search of a new start.
It was in his city and his long-standing club, where he played from 2011 to 2018 and won the Hurricanes' only Super rugby title in 2016, that he found a place to fall.
“He has played 100 games for the Hurricanes and has been instrumental in what has happened here in the past. We look forward to benefiting from his experience,” said Jason Holland, his new coach.
Savea scored 46 tries in 54 games for the All Blacks, including eight in the winning 2015 global campaign, finishing the competition's top scorer. He was no longer a part of Steve Hansen's plans four years later in Japan, replaced on the right wing by the new New Zealand nuggets Rieko Ioane and George Bridge.
"Back to where I started. I can't wait to join my brothers at the Hurricanes for the rest of the season," tweeted Savea who said he was "happy and grateful" for the opportunity.
However, the reunion could be short-lived as there are only two games left in Super Rugby Aotearoa and Holland did not select him for the meeting against the Waikato Chiefs on August 8.
The only chance for Savea to don the Hurricanes jersey this season will be on August 15 against the Otago Highlanders.
The Hurricanes coach also confirmed the end of the season for very fit center Ngani Laumape and pillar Fraser Armstrong, injured in the victory against the Canterbury Crusaders on Saturday (34-32).
© 2020 AFP