The Hurricanes again have fitness worries over a key player ahead of a Super Rugby final, but this time it’s not dynamic flanker Ardie Savea.
While skipper Dane Coles is battling to get over a rib complaint, Savea is ready to go against the Lions in Wellington on Saturday night.
It was a different story 11 months ago, when a knee problem eventually ruled him out of the 2015 final, when the Hurricanes fell to a 21-14 upset loss at the hands of the Highlanders.
“Last year, I was just focused on getting my knee right and didn’t train with the boys and wasn’t in the environment quite as much,” he said.
“But this week has been awesome, just getting in amongst it and actually getting to train, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Savea’s speed and athleticism have been to the fore in the Hurricanes’ run to the 2016 tournament decider.
His form also earned the 22-year-old his first two Test caps against Wales in the June international window and he is part of the All Blacks’ squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
While the Hurricanes know the final will be different from any other match of the Super Rugby season, Savea says they’ll still be trying to treat it like business as usual – that there’ll be another game to prepare for next week.
“We’ve got the mindset just to go out there and earn another Monday,” he said.
“In the back of our minds we know it’s not going to be that. The Lions are going to come out in full force and we’re prepared for that.”
Coach Chris Boyd is delighted to be able to call on Savea this weekend.
“He was a big factor that was missing in the final last year,” Boyd said.
“He was really disappointed not to play in that game. His form has been outstanding, so I think to have him here is a massive positive for us.”