Absent from last year’s Super Rugby final due to injury, Ardie Savea can’t wait to run out in the tournament’s showpiece event this Saturday.
Savea was ruled out of the 2015 final with a knee issue and watched from the sidelines as the Hurricanes fell to the Highlanders on home soil in Wellington.
A year on, the All Blacks flanker has fully embraced being part of the team’s preparations for the biggest game of his career with the team to date.
“Last year, I was just focused on getting my knee right and didn’t train with the boys and wasn’t in the environment quite as much,” he told NZ Newswire.
“But this week has been awesome, just getting in amongst it and actually getting to train, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Savea also revealed that the team’s mindset has been on treating the final as it was just another game, rather than focusing on the fact that a first Super Rugby title is on the line.
“We’ve got the mindset just to go out there and earn another Monday,” he said.
“In the back of our minds we know it’s not going to be that. The Lions are going to come out in full force and we’re prepared for that.”
Chris Boyd, the Hurricanes head coach, added that the loss of Savea ahead of the 2015 final had been a major setback and that his presence a year on was a big boost for the side.
“He was a big factor that was missing in the final last year,” Boyd said.
“He was really disappointed not to play in that game. His form has been outstanding, so I think to have him here is a massive positive for us.”