Savea urges against complacency against Italy

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The message he will be giving to some of his less experienced teammates ahead of Sunday's (NZT) Test in Rome is that they cannot afford to discount the Italians who will be playing under their new coach, former All Black Kieran Crowley.

"If we underestimate the Italian team it is going to be a long day for us. We know how physical they are and I remember their loose trio the last time we were here carved us up and dominated us, so we're not taking this game lightly," he said.

The game would be another step towards growing their game and continuing their improvement, something that saw Savea produce an outstanding effort against Wales at the weekend.

Savea said his inspiration came when forwards coach John Plumtree said to him before the game to get his hands on the ball whenever he could.

"I just found myself in the right place at the right time.

"For me, it's just close my eyes, bite down on my mouthguard and go and if you can stop me, you stop me, but I'm going to fight through it."

They knew Cardiff was going to be a massive occasion and prepared accordingly.

"We wanted to nail the basics, and we thought we did that well. We're still giving silly penalties away, but that's something we can deal with," he said.

Savea said there was intense competition for places, unlike anything in his five years in the side. The match 23 were usually obvious in regular campaigns, but he had been impressed with the quality of younger players introduced to the squad.

"The young guys have been awesome. They're training well, they're learning, and it's showing on the field.

"I'm not that old…but for us more experienced guys, having those guys play well, it's keeping us on our toes, and trying to compete and fight for positions. It doesn't matter who goes out there on the weekend, the lads are on fire, so it's pretty special," he said.

Being involved in touring for 15 weeks, something unusual in the modern era but commonplace during the pre-professional days had provided the players with a chance to have more time together, something he believed would be useful in the future.

It had been refreshing midway through the tour, as they transferred from Australia to Europe to be joined by Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane and Dane Coles. It felt as if the whole team was back together, he said.

If, after so long on the road, they needed a lift, the experience of being driven to their game in Cardiff, making their way slowly through throngs of excited fans, had achieved that.

"That's the sort of stuff you dream of as a kid, that's refreshing, that's awesome," he said.

"I'm just loving playing footy. I pride myself on preparing well and making sure I can nail that role within the week, so I can just play freely," he said.

That didn't matter whether he was on the openside or No8.

"It doesn't matter what position. I try to nail my week, which means I'm able to have fun, have a smile on my face and just jam. I felt that last night [against Wales]. I'm going to try to go with that over the next couple of games if I do get an opportunity," he said.


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