Ardie Savea wants change in New Zealand's eligibility rules

Ardie Savea moved to Japan to play for Kobelco Kobe Steelers
Ardie Savea moved to Japan to play for Kobelco Kobe Steelers

All Blacks star Ardie Savea has urged for a change in New Zealand's selection policy for overseas players to overcome the danger of losing star players in the upcoming season.

Currently, New Zealand Rugby does not support the selection of players plying trade overseas to safeguard the interest of their domestic clubs. This means the likes of Savea, Brodie Retallick and Richie Mo'unga, who are currently playing in Japan are unavailable to Scott Robertson, who took over as the All Blacks coach this year.

"Times are changing," Savea said in recent comments to New Zealand media.

"Things are moving fast. What worked five, 10, 15 years ago maybe can't work now. We've just got to be innovative and smart around what we're doing.

"The country that's proven that it works, that it helps, is South Africa. The majority of their team's playing (offshore) and they come together and win the World Cup.

"I don't think it's going to change drastically, but I just think that something needs to evolve and grow."

Citing the case of the Springboks, who won back to back World Cups in 2019 and 2023, Savea said the experience of playing overseas will be benefit the All Blacks as they look to reclaim the Webb Ellis Cup which they last won in 2015.

"I think that's the best thing about being out of New Zealand — I'm playing against guys from South Africa, Pacific Island boys that are from Tonga, Samoa — the Japanese brothers, Aussie brothers," he added.

"I'm playing against a different variety of players, different styles, which has been refreshing and awesome. Where in New Zealand, you're just playing against the New Zealand teams and Aussie teams."