Resurgent All Black Julian Savea puts his improved form down to the freedom of playing rugby with a clear mind.
The barnstorming winger bagged a try in his side’s 57-22 Saturday night win over Argentina and looked a menace throughout, taking on the Pumas defence at will and producing five line breaks.
Savea also made 116 metres in 11 carries, more than any of his teammates.
The strong performance follows two equally solid outings, one from the bench, in his side’s Bledisloe Cup victories over the Wallabies.
Savea, 26, endured a torrid 2016 Super Rugby campaign after coming into the Hurricanes’ pre-season overweight and producing several listless performances.
He was later dropped to the bench for his side’s successful tilt at a maiden Super Rugby crown.
The 46-cap winger, known as The Bus, told reporters after Saturday’s match he’d been guilty of overthinking his game for the Hurricanes and playing without instinct.
But he felt he’d rectified the problem in the All Blacks environment by doing the little things right and enjoying his rugby again.
“There’s always something about this jersey that makes you want to not miss out,” Savea said.
“It was just me thinking about too much stuff and worrying about too many things and making mistakes.”
Los Pumas went toe-to-toe with the world champions in the opening 50 minutes, bagging the first try.
Savea was unsurprised by Argentina’s offensive ability.
“I was able to get my hand on the ball and the boys inside made it possible but it was a tough match,” Savea said.
“Argentina showed their flair and passion and why they’re one of the best in the world.”
Assistant coach Ian Foster said Savea was slowly returning to his best and his physical fitness was now being matched by improved decision-making.