According to the NZ Herald, Savea has a rare “break clause” in his contract that allows him to leave the franchise if he wishes.
Savea is contracted to New Zealand Rugby through to the 2019 World Cup. Midway through that four-year deal, this is the only year he can exercise his Super Rugby break clause.
It is believed this caveat is tied to some form of commercial arrangement with the national body.
There are no guarantees Savea will leave the Hurricanes. But, equally, at this stage it is no certainty he will stay.
The Hurricanes are in talks to see if Savea wants to remain in the capital.
It is also understood the Chiefs, in the market for a big, strike wing after James Lowe’s departure and the failed pursuits of Waisake Naholo and Seta Tamanivalu, have registered their interest.
With Savea weighing his options, there is sure to be interest from all New Zealand Super Rugby teams.
This situation arose because from a performance perspective, Savea has not only been dropped from the All Blacks Rugby Championship squad but also sits outside the Hurricanes starting team.
At the business end of last year’s championship campaign and this season’s semi-final run Savea was benched, leaving him with some big decisions to make about his future.
Even with Cory Jane’s exit to Japan the Hurricanes remain stacked with outside backs. Wes Goosen, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Vince Aso and Jordie Barrett have all been preferred. And there will be no promises about that changing should Savea decide to stay.
Such a predicament hurts any superstar athlete who has reached the pinnacle of their field.
Savea must now ask himself where his best chance of regaining his All Blacks jersey will come - Wellington, Hamilton or perhaps elsewhere?
Does he take the setback on the chin, focus on the provincial campaign and then target a big offseason? Initial feedback from the Wellington Lions suggests Savea has not dropped his lip but instead turned up with a strong desire to perform and prove he remains a force.
Alternatively, Savea may feel a new challenge and fresh start outside his comfort zone at the Chiefs might be the best way to reinvigorate his career. We’ve see similar moves work wonders for the likes of Naholo and Malakai Fekitoa, both of whom were let go by the Blues only to flourish at the Highlanders.
In an ideal world Savea, who is off limits to media, would probably choose to live in Wellington. His family is based there, and he shares the field with brother Ardie. His wife is also expecting.
But the last two years have not produced his best and something needs to change.
Money is not a major factor. New Zealand Super Rugby salaries are capped around $195,000 no matter where players are based.
It will purely be about which environment Savea feels he can regain the form which saw him regarded as the world’s premier finisher.
Such are the flexibility of options now ingrained in elite New Zealand Rugby contracts, the ball is firmly in the 27-year-old’s court. For now, the Hurricanes must play the waiting game.
Either way, a decision on Savea’s Super Rugby future is expected within the next three weeks.
- NZ Herald