Rugby: Julian Savea fasting for Ramadan in support of Muslim wife

Hurricanes winger Julian Savea is fasting for the month-long Muslim tradition of Ramadan.

Savea isn't Muslim, but he's observing the Holy Month for the first time as a show of solidarity for his wife of two years, Fatima.

Ramadan is an ancient Islamic practice that involves consuming no food or liquids between sunrise and sunset for an entire month.

The 54-test All Black, who has sworn off pork, said he enjoys learning about the Muslim religion through the experience, but admits it hasn't been easy.

"The first couple of days have been tough, but nothing too stressful," Savea told media on Monday.

"I guess I'm just trying to adopt [Fatima's] culture and learning as much as I can, but I wouldn't say I'm a full Muslim as I don't know too much about it. I'm still learning."

The 27-year-old has endured his share of weight-related issues recently, particularly through a 2017 season which saw him dropped from the All Blacks squad for the Rugby Championship.

Still just a week into his fast, Savea revealed he's already weighing in lighter, looking to keep active in order to stave off any cravings.

"I'm just trying to buy some time and do things, rather than sit at home... It's been a good experience."

Blues midfielder Sonny Bill Williams is another player who's in the midst of the fast. Williams is a dedicated Muslim, converting in 2010.

Meanwhile, Savea's Hurricanes are trying to get back on track after a loss to the Crusaders on Saturday snapped their 10-game winning streak. They'll have a chance to recover in a mouth-watering match-up against the Highlanders on Friday.

Some players subscribe to the theory that a loss can be a helpful reality check during a period of prolonged success - but not Savea.

"No, I don't believe in that at all," he said emphatically.

"If you want to be great, you have to be able to keep learning as you win. I don't think any team should have to lose to learn and get better.

"We've got a lot of learning to take in, and it's a big game this week."


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