Crusaders set to catch 'The Bus'
August 29, 2013
Julian Savea offers the strike wide that the Crusaders have been missing © Getty Images
Savea, 23, has scored 16 tries in 40 appearances for the Hurricanes since 2011, and 13 tries in 13 Tests for New Zealand, and Crusaders officials are believed to be close to confirming the deal for him to replace Tom Marshall, APNZ reports. Marshall played on the right wing this season but prefers to play fullback - hence his decision to move to the defending champion Chiefs.
APNZ reports the Crusaders also wanted to sign Alapati Leiua from the Hurricanes, but they were turned down.
Rugby Heaven reported that Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni was desperate to re-sign the All Blacks wing, who is off contract, but the financial package put together by the Crusaders was likely to include third-party payments. The Crusaders are believed to be confident their lucrative package will be enough to lure Savea to form a devastating back three alongside All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg and former Test wing Zac Guildford.
Savea burst on to the Test scene in 2012, scoring three tries on debut against Ireland at Eden Park. His likely impending departure from Wellington will represent a savage blow to the Hurricanes given the franchise supported Savea since a domestic violence incident in April.
Savea, who is off contract, said last week that he had been negotiating with the Crusaders, but Te Puni told Rugby Heaven: "We are on the record as saying we want to keep him and our coaches have been trying to keep him all along." Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach, meanwhile, told Rugby Heaven: "We have nothing to say in this matter."
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