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Savea's step up to Springboks

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Sportal.co.nz     14 Sep 2012     Getty Images

Savea, 22, will make his fourth Test appearance after scoring a hat-trick of tries on debut against Ireland in June.

He has been given the nod ahead of the more experienced Hosea Gear for the second consecutive Test and the Wellingtonian is determined to make the most of it.

"I've never played the Springboks before, I've only watched them on telly," he said in Dunedin.

"They're really intense, really physical and I'm excited about playing against them," he said.

Another challenge is that Savea will mark the world-class winger, Bryan Habana.

"He's one of the best wingers in international rugby and it's a huge opportunity for me. I remember watching him when I was growing up."

Savea will have his Hurricanes team-mate, Cory Jane, on the other wing and he is pleased about that.

"Cory is great to play with. He's very experienced and he helps me a lot and gives me good advice. I learn a lot off CJ."

Savea scored the match-winning try in his only previous game at Forsyth Barr Stadium, when the Hurricanes beat the Highlanders 26-20 back in May.

"That was pretty special and it was good for the Canes as well," he recalled. "We hadn't beaten the Highlanders for a couple of years so to win at the stadium in Dunedin was pretty good.

"It echoes in the stadium and it's often pretty hard to hear. We've got to work hard this week to communicate and to let each other know what's on. It's a good surface and it's great for a winger to run on."

Julian is not the only Savea making waves in New Zealand rugby. His younger brother, Ardie, 18, has been in sensational form as a loose forward for Wellington in the ITM Cup and he will play for the Lions against Waikato in the capital in what is a curtain-raiser to Saturday's Test.

"He's playing awesomely. I'm really proud of what he's doing," Julian said. "He's only 18 and he's playing way above his age.

"He's got a long way to go but no doubt he'll be in here (in the All Blacks) one day."

Julian said he hesitated to give his younger brother advice.

"He's probably already a better rugby player. I just tell him to play his game and, if he does that, nothing much will get in his way."