Savea no longer ‘overweight’

Date published: August 6 2015

New Zealand winger Julian Savea is ready to make a big impact on his return, now back to full fitness after being 'overweight.'

Savea missed the Tests against Argentina and South Africa as he worked on getting back into shape after his conditioning dropped off during the Super Rugby season.

"We're trying to get him fit. He turned up overweight. His attitude to that task has been fantastic and he's done what he's been asked to do. He's made some great gains and been through a bit of pain," New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen told Stuff.

"He's pretty hungry, and I don't mean for food, I mean for a game. And that's a good place to have him because when he's like that he's a pretty handy footballer.

"It's a big season and sometimes those things can creep up on you. He's a first time dad as well, so he's dealing with different things at home and over a long season of Super Rugby you can lose focus, so maybe that happened a little bit… he's accepted he wasn't where he needed to be. He's worked hard and now he's ready to play."

Savea revealed that he had been put through the mill by the strength and conditioning coaches to get back into top shape.

"It's always hard when you are playing week in week out. Your eating stays the same or even increases, but the training load comes down," said Savea.

"You don't get that conditioning every week. The All Blacks coaches made a decision [not to play me until I was fit] and I agreed with them and responded really well and basically worked my ass off.

"It's been pretty good, it's worked really well. In terms of my goals I just wanted to get in good shape and be ready to go when I got the opportunity… the last couple of weeks has been really rewarding to see the changes and I'm happy with where I'm at. It doesn't stop there I just have to keep working hard."

That starts in Sydney, with Savea pumped up to make an impact on his return to the side.

"You always want to pull on that black jersey and be out there with the boys, but I knew that wasn't my role at the moment. My role was to get right and help the boys prepare for every test," stated Savea.

"But if there was a scale one to 100, I'm a 100. I just want to get out there and put in a good performance for the team."