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All Black Ardie Savea mulls shock league switch

Savea, whose contract with the All Blacks runs until the end of 2021, said learning a new sport would be exciting.

FILE: New Zealand's flanker Ardie Savea takes part in a captain's run training session in Beppu on 1 October 2019, on the eve of their Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Canada. Picture: AFP

WELLINGTON - All Black loose forward Ardie Savea has floated the prospect of a shock move to rugby league, saying cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams inspired the idea.

Savea, whose contract with the All Blacks runs until the end of 2021, said learning a new sport would be exciting.

"I want to test myself and see if I can dominate, if I can play the way I do in union in league," he told former NRL player Isaac John's The Ice Project podcast.

"I've seen guys like Sonny do it, how it's benefited him, and it's kind of pondered my mind."

Savea, 26, has a rugged, physical style would probably fit well into the 13-man code.

He is currently sidelined after suffering a knee injury during New Zealand's semifinal loss to England at the Rugby World Cup.

Losing Savea would be a major blow for the All Blacks, who are keen to retain top talent after a string of high-profile departures following the tournament in Japan.

The bruising back-rower is seen as a likely All Blacks replacement at number eight for Kieran Read, who retired from international rugby after the England loss.

He has contemplated leaving the All Blacks before, agreeing to a deal with French club Pau in late 2018 only to stay in New Zealand after a last-minute change of mind.

Williams, 34, is currently on his third stint in rugby league playing for the Toronto Wolfpack, a sequence punctuated by two World Cup-winning periods with the All Blacks.

He also dabbled in rugby sevens and boxing.