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Savea happy with Test bid performance

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/06/2017 Daniel Gilhooly
Julian Savea © Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images Julian Savea

Julian Savea believes he could have done little more to turn the All Blacks selectors' heads in his performance for the Hurricanes against the British and Irish Lions.

The 46-try international winger was the shock omission from last week's first Test win over the Lions in Auckland, opening the door for his 20-year-old replacement Rieko Ioane to shine with two tries.

Savea, 26, had his chance to respond for the Hurricanes in Tuesday's 31-31 draw in Wellington.

He had a busy night, making numerous runs including a scything break off an inside pass to set up the try of the night to Ngani Laumape.

One dropped high ball was the black mark but the Savea emerged happy with his bid for a Test recall.

"You always want to make a statement every time you go out on the pitch," he said.

"Whatever happens now, happens. You try for the best and sometimes you go chasing the ball and it doesn't come your way. I was happy with my work rate."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has said Savea was unfortunate in a tight race for the Test No.11 jersey and stressed the bruising ball-runner was far from washed up at Test level.

The man they call "The Bus" confirmed he has been told by Hansen to be ready should a shoulder tap come.

"(He said) Stay confident, be ready. Whenever I'm called up, be ready to play."

Savea admits his form is considerably better than the same time last year when a lack of fitness saw him fail to win starting selection in the Hurricanes' charge to the Super Rugby title.

He only played a small part in the June series against Wales.

Savea joined All Blacks squad members Jordie Barrett and Laumape in the Hurricanes backline on Tuesday.

All three impressed but will have their work cut out forcing a place in the second Test team to face the Lions at the same Westpac Stadium venue on Saturday.

Injuries to Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith could create a bench spot for the versatile Barrett, who showed his range of skills when shifted from fullback to first five-eighth for the latter part of the game.

Savea wasn't sure how to feel as the teams walked off sharing the honours, with the Hurricanes having fought back from 16 points down.

"Somewhere in the middle," he said.

"We definitely knew we could have won it. But the way we came back, I'm pretty proud of that."

British and Irish Lions' Sam Warburton and New Zealand's Kieran Read lift the Series Trophy after the series is drawn during the third test of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour at Eden Park, Auckland In pics: Lions tour of New Zealand
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