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Savea: Either wing suits me

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Sportal.co.nz     29 May 2012     Getty Images

Savea has been in sparkling form for the Hurricanes down the left flank this Investec Super Rugby season and bagged a hat-trick of tries last Saturday as the Hurricanes routed the Melbourne Rebels 66-24.

Along with Zac Guildford and the recently included Hosea Gear, Savea is one of three specialist wingers in the All Blacks wider training group being put through its paces in Wellington this week but all of them usually play on the left wing.

Savea however, spent last year on the right flank for the Hurricanes as Gear had a mortgage on the left wing jersey before his departure to the Highlanders.

"On defence it's probably a bit different," said Savea when asked if there was much difference between the two positions.

"I played on the right last year so I probably wouldn't mind [the switch]."

The opportunity is certainly there for the big, hard-running 21-year-old with last year's All Blacks incumbents Cory Jane and Richard Kahui both out injured.

But Savea is not getting too carried away with the hype after suggestions he already has one of those spots sewn up.

"Hopefully they can talk to Steve [All Blacks coach Steve Hansen]," he joked. "I'm just here enjoying the camps and waiting for my opportunity."

Savea, in just his second year of Super Rugby, admitted to being nervous at last week's first All Blacks get-together.

"I'm getting more comfortable. Just being a new fella I was star-struck to see all the All Blacks you've been watching over the years.

"I feel now that I'm part of the team. But until the actual team's been named, then I think I'll feel more comfortable."

While Savea is pushing hard for his first All Black cap, Israel Dagg is playing down talk the fullback spot is already his.

With Mils Muliaina now playing in Japan, Dagg's main rivals for the No.15 jersey will come from Highlanders pair Tamati Ellison and Ben Smith.

"I'm not the No.1 at all," said the Crusaders fullback who started in last year's World Cup final. "I'm just trying to do the best I can. I can only control what I do.

"There are some outstanding players out there and they are playing extremely well.

"I can't control what they do. I can only control what I do and hopefully it's good enough to get that black jersey."

Winning the World Cup last year eased the pressure on the All Blacks after years of falling short in rugby's global showpiece.

But Dagg said the challenge now was to ensure they did not emulate previous Webb Ellis Cup winners who have traditionally had a drop in form following their success.

"We don't want to be like that so we're trying not to get too complacent.

"Everyone is fairly relaxed about it but we can't be complacent because we don't want to be that team after the World Cup that doesn't start too well."

A new coaching group of Hansen, Ian Foster and Aussie McLean will partly help to alleviate that as will the different build-up to the international season.

For the first time Super Rugby will break for three weeks for the Tests against Ireland and holding training camps during the regular season is also a first.

"It is very different," admitted the Crusaders fullback. "We're playing the Highlanders this weekend and Tamati Ellison is my room-mate this week and I'll be playing against him this weekend.

"It's different but it's what we've got to do. There is such a short time period to learn all the new structures and plays that the coaches have got. This is the only opportunity we get so we've just got to do it.

"It's a bit like going back to school really. We're just learning the basics so when we come into camp for the June Tests it's not full-on and starting from scratch."