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“He really stood out”: Savea praised for consistency across Ireland series


All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea has been dubbed “one of the best in the world” after years of consistency in the international arena.

Savea was a standout for the side across their recent series with Ireland and was voted as the ‘best player in the Southern Hemisphere right now,’ on a poll created by the Autumn Nations Series Twitter handle.

The flanker played more than 190 minutes across the series, scored three tries and was the greatest ball carrier for the side in their third-Test decider with 17 carries.

Former All Black Israel Dagg believes the poll results are a true reflection of Savea’s recent form, saying he has “really stood out” from his teammates in previous Tests.

“He’s the first name on the sheet every week,” Dagg said on SENZ Breakfast.

“He’ll go close to (being) one of the best in the world, particularly what he was able to do in a tough time against Ireland. He really stood out.”

As the All Blacks prepare for a huge encounter with the Springboks, questions have been raised as to whether their pack has the capacity to counter the Boks’ power in the forwards.

While Savea boasts a smaller, more agile frame than most forwards in the international game, Dagg feels that he is the right size for his role in the side.

“He doesn’t really need to be bigger,” Dagg continued.

“He’s so powerful through the contact but his biggest asset is his speed and his agility, so you don’t want to put on too much weight otherwise you take away that side of it.

“If he was having problems in the contact area and (he was) struggling and you were seeing him get dominated and he wasn’t able to do what he’s doing now, then I would have question marks … but at the moment I think he’s the perfect shape.

“He’s playing the best rugby he’s ever played and his biggest asset is his speed; we don’t want to lose that.”

Savea will join captain Sam Cane and Akira Ioane in the loose forward trio as the All Blacks attempt to overpower the Bokke on Saturday night (Sunday morning NZST).

The opening match of the Rugby Championship will take place in Nelspruit at Mbombela Stadium before both sides head to Johannesburg on August 14 for their second of two Tests.

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