Time up at Toulon – Julian Savea returning to New Zealand

Former All Black Julian Savea is returning to New Zealand with an eye on a Hurricanes comeback following the expiration of his contract with French rugby club Toulon.

With the 2019-20 Top 14 season cancelled prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Savea was released by the club and will be flying to New Zealand with his family soon, with the winger-turned-centre announcing the news via an interview with his younger brother and fellow All Black Ardie posted to Instagram.

Once he gets back, the elder Savea said he would perhaps try his hand at finding a contract in New Zealand rugby or elsewhere for five or six months down the track.

“At the end of the day I’d be grateful for anything. Ideally I’d love to be back with the Canes brothers,” Julian Savea said

“If that doesn’t happen then I’ll see my other options. It could be another franchise, it could be Japan, it could be even maybe the [National Rugby League’s New Zealand] Warriors, I don’t know, we’ll see.”

Hurricanes Chief Executive Officer Avan Lee told Newstalk ZB Sport the Super Rugby side are aware their former star is returning to New Zealand.

“Hurricanes management will keep an open mind about future possibilities,” he said.

Savea said the fact clubs around the world are losing money and can’t offer big contracts due to COVID-19 made the decision to return home to New Zealand easy, and he was better off spending that five or six months break  in the country he was born and raised.

“Close to family, I get to train back up with the boys, and I guess just get my body and my mind ready to go for whatever’s next, whether that’s in New Zealand or somewhere else overseas again,” he said. 

“Until that time comes, first and foremost I just wanna get home and see the family.”

Savea was very thankful to all the players and people behind the Toulon club, and said the fans were awesome throughout his two seasons there.

“Being in New Zealand, I didn’t really experience that,” he said. 

“You know fans in New Zealand are sort of hot and cold depending on how you go on gameday. Here, regardless if you’re winning, you’re losing, whatever, they’re just there supporting you no matter what, and that’s pretty special.”

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