Barbarians pick Savea to face All Blacks
Barbarians pick Savea to face All BlacksSHARE
Nicknamed 'The Bus', Savea – who has scored an impressive 46 tries in just 54 Tests – was dropped from New Zealand's Rugby Championship squad in August after the return of the fit-again Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Savea had previously been a regular in New Zealand's No 11 jersey since 2012 but, having been axed on his 27th birthday, his international future is uncertain.
World Cup winner Savea, the leading try-scorer at the 2015 edition in England, last played for New Zealand in the drawn third Test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland in July.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, speaking after omitting Savea, insisted the Wellington flyer was far from finished at Test level.
"Julian's been a very, very good All Black for us and done some great things – I feel for him a wee bit at this stage," Hansen said.
"He's disappointed and so he should be. He's done a lot in the jersey, he's enhanced it when he's worn it and his time's not over."
Savea has been joined in the Barbarians squad by another New Zealand World Cup winner in scrumhalf Andy Ellis.
Former Australia coach Robbie Deans, a New Zealand fullback in his playing days, leads a Barbarians backroom team that includes England's 2003 World Cup-winning centre Will Greenwood.
The squad will assemble in London on Monday, October 30 and after the New Zealand fixture they will head to Ireland for a match against Tonga at Limerick's Thomond Park on November 10.
Founded in 1890, the Barbarians remain Rugby Union's most famous invitational side. A touring side with no home ground of their own, their traditions include having players wear their own club or international socks, with a Barbarians XV featuring at least one player who hasn't yet appeared in a full international or Test match.
Arguably the Barbarians' most celebrated win was when a star-studded team beat a strong New Zealand side 23-11 in Cardiff in 1973.
That match saw Wales great Gareth Edwards crown a length-of-the-field move to score what many still consider to be Rugby Union's best try of all time.
Next month's match between the All Blacks and the Barbarians is in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the New Zealand Rugby Union.