Ardie Savea ready for game of his life
All Black, Ardie Savea, is one of the top rugby players in the world.
But he said he’s at his best when he has time away from the game.
Speaking ahead of the biggest game of his life, a Rugby World Cup semifinal against England on Saturday night, the loose forward from Siumu talked about how he needs distractions from rugby sometimes.
"A lot of the guys have different ways of preparing,” Savea said.
“For me, it's trying to get away from it. If I think about it too much, it does my head in.
“So podcasting, connecting with the brothers… it's massive for me during the week so I'm in the right frame of mind on Saturday.”
The 26-year-old certainly has plenty going on in his life away from the game; including the Ardie Savea Podcast, Ardie Savea Clothing brand, and a young family in wife Saskia and daughter Kobe.
"I'm the type of person who studies the game, and once that's done, if I keep going over it, that's when I start to second guess myself. So then I switch off,” Savea said.
Some study may have been required this week with the versatile loosie to start at openside flanker against England having worn the number six jersey last weekend against Ireland.
"In terms of roles and clarity and stuff like that, it's a bit different to the six, but the way I prep, the way I get ready for the game is the same,” Savea said.
“I'm relaxed wherever I am. It doesn’t kind of matter to me."
That relaxed attitude might make Saturday night that much more enjoyable for Savea, who will savour the fulfillment of a dream come true:
“As a kid, you dream of playing for the All Blacks but being at a World Cup with them is even more special.
"It's a do or die match so you've just got to go out there and enjoy the moment."
The All Blacks selected six other Samoans in starting second five Anton Lienert-Brown, first five Richie Mo’unga and tighthead prop Nepo Laulala, with prop Angus Ta’avao, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and midfielder Sonny Bill Williams set to come off the bench.
Opposite them for England will be Manu Tuilagi at centre, looking for a repeat of his famous performance against the All Blacks in a 2012 win.
The semifinal at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama kicks off at 10pm Samoan time.