Labeling Julian Savea as a better All Black than the great Jonah Lomu is one hell of a wrap for a rugby player so early into his international career.
Talk has been about since All Black coach Steve Hansen yesterday declared that Julian Savea is probably a better player than All Black legend Jonah Lomu.
Jonah Lomu was the man who kicked rugby into the media spotlight, and as a result helped make the game professional in the mid 90’s. Many believe that Lomu’s amazing try during the 1995 World Cup Semi Final against England was the greatest moment that the game has ever, and will ever see.
Julian Savea, a player with so many similarities to Lomu currently holds a record of 27 tries from 27 test matches.
The 2014 season has been the best yet for Savea. Some of the decisions the winger has made in games this year have been outstanding, and the fact that Savea has scored tries in almost every game he has played backs up the skill he has showed.
Savea is getting into the right positions to score, and is kicking the ball to set up other tries much more this season than previous.
If you look back at Savea’s career in the black jersey thus far, it is hard to find a match where an impact hasn’t been made by the winger, and even harder to find a single ball carry where he hasn’t broken at least one tackle. Savea has that similar X factor as Lomu had, and every time he runs with the ball he looks likely to do something exciting, much like Lomu did.
In many ways it is a shame that Julian Savea wasn’t noticed and picked for the All Blacks a season or two earlier.
The impact that a player like Savea would have had in New Zealand for the All Blacks during the 2011 World Cup would have been similar to that of Lomu back in 1995.
On the eve of one of the most historic All Blacks/Springboks tests of all time, Hansen’s claims that Savea is a better player than the great Jonah Lomu certainly will put Savea into a very special group of All Blacks, so young into his professional rugby career.
On the other side of the spectrum to this argument over if Lomu or Savea is better, is Lomu’s much talked about health issues. Right through his All Black career, Lomu suffered kidney problems that undeniably halted him from becoming the calibre of player he had the potential to become, even with the amazing heights of success that Lomu reached anyway.
Former All Black coach John Hart believes that had Lomu been fit and healthy, he would have been remembered to be a sportsman ranked in the same sentences as the likes of a Roger Federer or Usain Bolt.