WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Former All Blacks winger Julian Savea has joined the Wellington Hurricanes for the remainder of their Super Rugby Aotearoa season, the team said on Monday.
Savea returned from France after the Top 14 season was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and said he was keen on continuing his rugby career at home.
Hurricanes coach Jason Holland confirmed that Savea, whose nickname was “The Bus”, would join the team as a replacement for Ben Lam, who played his 50th game on Saturday but is joining Bordeaux.
The Hurricanes, who ended the Canterbury Crusaders’ four-year winning streak in Christchurch on Saturday, have only two matches remaining in the domestic competition.
“He has played 100 games for the Hurricanes and is a big part of what’s happened here in the past,” Holland told reporters.
“We’re looking forward to the experience he can bring in for two weeks and help the boys along and compete in that outside backs spot.”
Savea said he was pleased to return to his home town club.
“Looking forward to rejoining my brothers down at the
@Hurricanesrugby for the remainder of the season,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Blessed to get this opportunity and very grateful! Back to my where it all started.”
Holland added that inside centre Ngani Laumape would need surgery on a broken arm and will be out for the rest of the season.
The Hurricanes have this week off before they host the Waikato Chiefs on Aug. 8, then finish their season against the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin on Aug. 15.
“We’ve just played four weeks in a row, I don’t know if we could have gone five,” Holland added of the fact the break had come at the right time for his team.
“Any more injuries in our backs and we might have had to see (assistant coach) Cory Jane out there.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Shri Navaratnam