The Cup 19 Podcast: Ardie Savea has to play at number eight - Christian Cullen

Ardie Savea should be promoted to the All Blacks number eight jersey.

That's according to former international Christian Cullen who would like to see skipper Kieran Read shift to the blindside flanker position.

Speaking to Newshub's The Cup '19 podcast, Cullen told host Ollie Ritchie, Savea's dynamic play during Super Rugby has made it impossible for the All Black selectors to leave him on the bench.

Read is unlikely to be dropped, but the absence of Liam Squire means one-test Chief Luke Jacobson is the only specialist number six in the 34 man squad for the Bledisloe Cup tests.

That leaves the All Blacks low on firepower, so shifting Read to blindside would solve two potential problems according to Cullen.

"Ardie Savea has proven over the course of Super Rugby, and the game against Argentina that he needs to be on the park," Cullen told The Cup '19.

"Kieran Read has played a bit of rugby at 6 in the past so how the work will be interesting. But Ardie Savea off the back of the scrum - he is just unreal, dynamic and hard to stop.

"His work rate is constant for the full 80 minutes, so he has to be on the park for mine. So that for me means Savea, Sam Cane and Read is the best trio we have."

A little closer to his expertise, Cullen likes what he saw with the duel playmaker role against the Springboks last weekend.

The former All Blacks fullback can see plenty of worth in the selectors continuing to develop Beauden Barrett as a fullback, to allow for Richie Mo'unga to continue in the 10 jersey.

Cullen told The Cup '19 that the combination will only get better with time.

"It's a work in progress I think," Cullen said.

"We know how well Beauden plays at fullback - he spent his first two or three years filling that roll off the bench for the All Blacks. He can't find space well because he has so much room back there.

They just need time and Richie, as we have seen through Super Rugby he knows how to drive a team around the park. He has a ton of X-Factor. There is still four or five weeks to go for them to get that right."

Listen to the full episode here

Join Ollie Ritchie and Newshub as we build up to the Rugby World Cup with The Cup '19 podcast.

Each week, we'll delve deep inside the All Blacks camp as they prepare to go for an historic three-peat in Japan.

With expert analysis from our team on the ground and those who know the game back to front, we'll look at just how well the All Blacks are shaping up ahead of October's global showpiece.


Previously on The Cup '19 podcast

#1 - The kick-off

#2 - Beware of the Springboks