Super Rugby 2019: Ardie Savea hitting new heights for Hurricanes

Flanker Ardie Savea admits there's no great secret behind his startling Super Rugby form so far this season - it's simply a by-product of his positive state of mind of the field.

Savea shone as a replacement for the injured Sam Cane during the All Blacks' European tour and has raised his game to yet another level in the Hurricanes jersey, to the extent that - to date - he's arguably the competition's MVP.

The formula for Savea's success? Surrounding himself with quality people and getting back to the essence of why he plays rugby - for the love of the game.

"I've just been really happy off the field with my family and just getting my mind right," Savea said. "And that's what's showing on the field.

"It's amazing to be surrounded by great people. That's keeping me on my toes, that's keeping me grounded, that's keeping me humble.

"At the same time, it's just making me feel good and that's transferring onto the field.

"But I have that mindset that I'm just a kid, and going out there and having fun, and that's how I feel at the moment."

Savea's overwhelming presence across the park has been the main catalyst for the Hurricanes' five-game win streak in which the Wellington-based franchise has established itself as arguably the hottest team in Super Rugby.

The 25-year-old believes he's starting to strike that sweet spot, where he's in command of the mental and physical aspects of his game that's providing him the freedom to operate at his peak.

"I'm not thinking of it too much as a burden, when you go out to play - it's more just to go out there and have fun. That's the way I've been seeing it this whole season.

"There are some little things I'd like to work on, but I've just got to keep tracking, making sure my body and my mind are right, so that each week, I can just go out there and perform."

That said, the looming bye week that follows Friday's clash with the Jaguares will come as a welcome respite for Savea, who confesses he's feeling the pinch of full 80-minute efforts through the last four rounds.

"I am still tired, but I wouldn't have it any other way."

With Chiefs flanker Sam Cane's long-awaited return from injury imminent, the race for the All Blacks number-seven jersey is about to come under the microscope.

In Cane's absence last year, Savea took his opportunity with both hands and his continued stellar play will surely have given the national selectors some welcome food for thought.

But there's no hint of a rivalry. Savea insists he'll take on whatever role he's asked to perform, pleased to see his teammate nearing a return to the field, after overcoming a scary neck injury.

"I'm just happy for the bloke to be back and training. It'll be awesome just to see him play footy again - I know how tough that would've been for him.

"Whatever the coaches decide is out of my control. I'll just be stoked to see the brother back out on the field and doing his thing."

Almost lost to New Zealand Rugby, after reneging on a deal with French club Pau late last year, you get the sense Savea is pleased he ultimately opted to stay put.

"It's funny, I could've been on my way after this year, if I made that decision, but I think everything happens for a reason."


Join us at 7:30pm Friday for live updates of the Hurricanes v Jaguares Super Rugby clash

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