LONDON — Julian Savea shrugged off the suggestion he has a point to prove against the All Blacks Saturday as he insisted he is confident the door to New Zealand selection remains open.
Savea, who has denied that he is close to a move to Premiership side Harlequins, will line up for the Barbarians at Twickenham having been overlooked for the All Blacks tour of Europe despite scoring a phenomenal 46 tries in 54 Test appearances.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said last week that he wanted Savea to have a break from rugby over the Southern Hemisphere off-season, before coming back refreshed in 2018.
However, the Hurricanes wing revealed Tuesday that he had not spoken to Hansen since the squad announcement and was relishing being a part of the Barbarians experience.
Asked if he had a point to prove against his international teammates, Savea said: “Not so much, I’m here to experience the BaaBaas way of playing and I’m excited to play against New Zealand.
“I believe the door is always going to be there as long as I can play the best I can. Whatever happens, happens.”
He added: “It is a little bit strange but I’m very excited about the challenge, and actually very excited about being a part of this club. So, it’s pretty special.”
Savea will potentially line up against his brother, Ardie, as well as his All Blacks colleagues at Twickenham. He admitted that has not happened since the pair were children. “Probably the last time I played him was at home on the carpet,” he joked.
“It’s going to be weird, strange coming up against Ards. He obviously beat me playing for the Barbarians as well.
“He was a part of this team two years ago. So it’s be pretty cool.”
Since losing his place in the All Blacks side to Rieko Ioane during the British & Irish Lions tour, Savea has rediscovered some form playing Mire 10 rugby for Wellington.
He revealed a switch back to the No. 14 shirt, in which he feels more comfortable, has helped him improve his form.
“I just feel a little more confident I guess, having the step and a little bit of a fend so I can do a little bit more,” he said.
“Naturally I am a right wing, I only moved to the left because Cory [Jane] wanted to play right.”