Outstanding number eight Ardie Savea has joked that he is constantly being reminded of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup failure by his brother.
His elder sibling is of course Julian Savea, who at one stage was arguably the sport’s best wing and helped his country to take home the Webb Ellis Cup in 2015.
Julian started in the showpiece event as they claimed the title thanks to a 34-17 triumph over the Wallabies at Twickenham.
That victory came just before Ardie made his international debut in 2016 as Steve Hansen sought to revamp the back-row following Richie McCaw’s retirement.
However, he is yet to taste success and Julian has not let Ardie forget that.
“He always says ‘you’ve got to win a World Cup’. I’ve been unsuccessful so far,” the number eight told The Project.
“So I don’t know what I’m going to do!”
Despite the team’s disappointment, the number eight was rewarded for his individual efforts by becoming the World Rugby Player of the Year.
Savea has constantly shown his class in a black jersey but, with him now the wrong side of 30, his place in the squad is not necessarily guaranteed for the next World Cup.
He will almost be 34 by the time the 2027 global tournament comes around in Australia and will need to fend off the talented youngsters who will be snapping at his heels.
The back-row will seek to refresh his mind and body with a stint in Japan ahead of his return to New Zealand in June 2024.
He will get plenty of reminders of home, however, with the number of All Blacks now plying their trade in the Japanese system.
“I went to escape Super Rugby and the Kiwi boys, but they’re all signed to play in Japan,” he joked.
“It’s going to be good to see the likes of and play against Richie [Mo’unga] and Shannon [Frizell] and join up with Ngani [Laumape].
“It’s going to be good, hopefully they don’t smash me too much.”