Ardie Savea addresses All Blacks captaincy and selection as Scott Robertson era begins

Colin Newboult
All Black Ardie Savea poses with his World Rugby Men's 15s Player of the Year award.

All Black Ardie Savea poses with his World Rugby Men's 15s Player of the Year award.

All Blacks superstar Ardie Savea admits that a new coaching staff brings about selection uncertainty.

The 30-year-old is the current men’s World Rugby Player of the Year after his stellar performances in 2023 helped them to a Rugby Championship win and a Rugby World Cup final.

New Zealand were agonisingly edged out 12-11 by the Springboks in the showpiece event in France in what was Ian Foster’s last match in charge.

Foster has since been replaced by Scott Robertson, one of the most highly regarded coaches around, and he will seek to take the All Blacks back to the number one spot.

Savea will surely be part of his plans when he returns from Japan ahead of the July Test series against England, but the number eight is not predicting anything.

Working with Robertson

“We’ll wait and see, mate, I need to make the squad first. But so far it has been refreshing, mentally refreshing,” he told reporters.

“Hopefully that pays dividends when it comes to All Black selection and the All Blacks’ time. But I am just kind of investing myself into Kobe and trying to win a championship here.”

The outstanding New Zealand back-row revealed that he has spoken to Robertson, who went on a scouting mission to Japan a couple of weeks ago, but that the conversations have only revolved around his performances and not potential selection.

“Yeah, yeah, I have had a few conversations with Razor just around feedback on my game and what I am doing well, what I need to improve on or work-ons,” the Kobe Steelers number eight said.

“It’s kind of been minimal, but it’s all that I need over here in terms of how to be better, how to get better and what I am doing well.”

All Blacks legend urges Scott Robertson to pick Damian McKenzie and create ‘new way’ of playing

Savea was also asked about the captaincy but he played it with a straight bat, with his mind firmly focused on Kobe’s campaign in Japan Rugby League One.

The experienced forward has been tipped to take over from Sam Cane as skipper but he will worry about that later down the line.

“First of all, there is a lot of talk of me being in this team, like I need to make the team first!” he said.

“I’m away, I have been watching Super Rugby, there has been some great players that are playing, that’s [All Blacks captaincy] kind of the last thing that is on my mind.

“Being here has given me a new perspective but, to be honest, it’s not even a focus. We have got new coaching staff so I have no idea what pecking order, what’s happening. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

‘Very exciting’

Savea is ‘excited’ about the All Blacks under Robertson’s new regime, but he is trying to take the time to ‘refresh’ before switching his focus back to international rugby.

“Yeah, it is very exciting. The All Blacks boys I think have had camps and from what I have heard it’s been pretty refreshing and pretty new and exciting the lads have said. Just have to wait and see,” he added.

“To be honest, I have just kept away from New Zealand rugby, I have watched the Hurricanes boys and Bus [Julian Savea] playing for Moana but everything else, I have just gotten away from New Zealand. I am just enjoying my time here in Japan, so I haven’t really followed much.”

READ MORE: Sir John Kirwan reveals the uncapped duo that have entered the ‘All Blacks discussion’