Rugby | All Blacks defend struggling Savea

Wellington – All Blacks assistant coach Ian
Foster on Tuesday expressed confidence wing Julian Savea would return to his
blockbusting best after a lacklustre performance against Wales.

Savea scored a try in the All Blacks’ 39-21
first Test win on Saturday but was subbed off early in the second half after
failing to contain the threat from Wales wing George North.

It added to a run of inconsistent form that
saw Savea dropped for a match by his Super Rugby team the Wellington Hurricanes
this season amid concerns over his fitness.

The giant wing has looked a far cry from
the player who terrorised defences during New Zealand’s World Cup triumph last
year, when he scored a record-equalling eight tries in a single tournament.

Foster said Savea was improving and working
his way back into form.

“He hasn’t come into this campaign on
great form and it didn’t really go his way, to a certain degree, last
week,” he told reporters.

“But he’s just taking it day by day
and getting better and better, so it’s just all part of getting him back to the
shape that we really need him to be in.”

In an ominous sign for Wales, Savea bounced
back from being dropped by the Hurricanes with a three-try performance against
the Jaguares.

If selected for the second Test in
Wellington this weekend, he will also avoid his nemesis North, who has been
ruled out of the rest of the series with a hamstring injury.

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