Blockbusting former All Blacks winger Julian Savea has been granted his wish by signing a short-term Super Rugby Aotearoa deal with the Hurricanes.
Savea, who scored 46 tries in 54 Tests before leaving for club rugby in France, is available to play the last two matches of the season for his former Kiwi franchise, who he represented more than 100 times.
The 29-year-old replaces Ben Lam, whose final game for the Hurricanes was their 34-32 upset of the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday before he departs for a contract with Bordeaux.
It completes a reversal of movement between the two big wingers, with Savea having recently arrived from Toulon.
His most recent Hurricanes appearance was in a losing semi-final against the Crusaders in Christchurch two years ago.
Savea had voiced a desire to earn a contract in the NZ domestic competition but had received no offers until approached by Hurricanes coach Jason Holland before Lam’s departure.
Savea will have a point to prove, having been criticised for his form in France by, most notably, outspoken Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal.
Holland must figure out how to replace inside centre Ngani Laumape (wrist) and prop Fraser Armstrong (knee), who both suffered serious injuries against the Crusaders.
The in-form Laumape will undergo surgery, which is expected to sideline him until early November and rule him out of All Blacks contention if any Bledisloe Cup Tests are played in October.