“Love is the answer mate”

By Thomas Airey, 14 April 2019

Samoan All Black, Ardie Savea, has a few simple words for embattled Wallabies star, Israel Folau.

“Love is the answer mate, just love everyone,” he said.

Savea offered the advice when the Samoa Observer asked him for his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Wallabies fullback Israel Folau.

Savea spent his Hurrricane’s team bye week in Samoa where he caught up with the Samoa Observer at his family’s home at Siumu.

Back in Australia, Folau is embroiled in a contract stoush with Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union. Both have theatened to terminate his employment based on his sharing of material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality.

Last week, Folau posted on his social media page that hell awaits various people including drunks, homosexuals, adulterers and atheists.

Asked for a comment, Savea said he doesn’t feel the need to be careful with the opinions he shares, because he and his employers have the same values.

 “For me, I’m all about love and compassion and I know for sure that the boss won’t have any problem when I share love,” he said.

 “To each to their own, but when you’re in a position where so many people follow you and look up to you, to put stuff out that’s not about love, you’ve got to be careful and it’s probably not the right thing to do.”

Savea said while people are entitled to believe what they want, being in a position of influence means perhaps those beliefs shouldn’t always be shared.

 “I’m a big believer in inspiring and influencing the youth. Back at home, and being here in Samoa I wanna do more now for the youth I see here too,” he said.

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Speaking of youth, the All Black star praised the work done by his former Sevens coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens in developing the Manu Samoa Sevens team.

Having come into the New Zealand sevens setup as an 18-year-old, Savea credits Tietjens for a lot of his career successes so far.

Savea played six World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments under Tietjens in 2012, on the way to one of the legendary coach’s 12 overall Series title wins.

Coming into the side straight after high school, Savea said Tietjens taught him a lot early in his career.

 “Without Titch, I probably wouldn’t have got my speed, my fitness, just everything.

 “He’s one of the toughest, hardest coaches I’ve ever come across, and that’s a good thing, I’m saying that in a good way.”

The current Manu Samoa 7s coach runs notoriously hard training sessions, and expects superior fitness levels from anyone who plays for him. Savea said no one could argue with the results, but it’s hard to explain just how demanding the training programme is to people that haven’t been in that environment.

 “At the time it’s ok I guess, you’re just doing it.

Savea said it was only once he got to other situations that he realised how different it is.

 “Like, this is easy man,” he laughed.

Savea said he doesn’t follow the Series as much as he used to, but is well aware of the job Tietjens is doing with the Manu 7s.

 “It’s awesome that he’s coaching Samoa, and they’ve done well at the last few tournaments. He’s a good man.”

The Manu Samoa 7s played in the quarterfinals of this week’s Singapore 7s, having made the semifinals last week in Hong Kong.

 “I heard the ref made a bad decision [to award France the winning try in the Hong Kong semifinal], but they’re doing well, the brothers,” Savea said.

By Thomas Airey, 14 April 2019

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