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Savea boys eager for clash with motherland

NZN 13/06/2017 Angelo Risso

The Savea family may well have two-bob each way on Friday as they watch Julian and Ardie take to Eden Park for the All Blacks.

Because while two of their own will represent New Zealand for the 53rd and 13th time respectively, they'll do so against the land of their ancestry - Samoa.

Both father Masina and mother Lina were born in the Polynesian nation before immigrating south to New Zealand, where winger Julian and flanker Ardie were born.

The Wellington-based clan maintain strong ties to Samoa, and proudly represent the diaspora - yet both boys still have a Samoan holiday on their bucket list.

"It's funny, I've never been back home - that's in my plans," Ardie said.

"Mum and Dad have got pretty strong connections back home in Samoa so that'll be pretty special, to run out there and play against them."

On the field, the All Blacks are hoping to use the Test as a hit-out for several of their underdone regulars ahead of next week's first British and Irish Lions clash.

Neither Julian nor Ardie fall into that category, with solid seasons of Super Rugby under their belts for the Hurricanes, but felt the Samoans would provide the perfect pre-Lions challenge with their mix of set-piece brawn and creative flair.

They were an opponent worthy of respect.

Both Saveas are likely to start from the first minute, with Julian in his customary left wing role and Ardie at either openside or No.8, given skipper Kieran Read's absence.

"Probably a little bit of a physical battle, so the boys up front will have a huge day, and a lot of line speed and flair - we've got to be prepared for that," Julian said.

"As All Blacks, we're always trying to focus on each game as it comes and obviously we've got Samoa, so it's important for us this week to prepare well.

"We're always trying to find that gap, and improve each year and every week as individuals and as a team - we always have goals, standards."

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