Barbarian Julian Savea enjoying his rugby more than ever

It hasn't been a season of fond All Blacks memories for discarded winger Julian Savea, but the 106kg winger says he's enjoying his rugby more than ever.

The 27-year-old has only appeared once for the world champions in 2017, the 15-15 third Test draw at Eden Park.

Surpassed by the likes of Rieko Ioane, Matt Duffie and Waisake Naholo in the left-wing pecking order, Savea has spent the entire second half of the season confined to the Mitre 10 Cup with the Wellington Lions.

Playing a big part in the capitals championship winning performance, Savea said the break from international rugby has rejuvenated him.

"The whole team played well," he told reporters in London.

"A lot of players coming through the ITM cup side looked really good, especially our younger guys.

"We really gelled well together in a short amount of time. I give a lot of credit to the team and the way we prepared every week."

The 54-Test veteran will oppose the All Blacks at Twickenham on Sunday morning (NZT) when he runs out for Robbie Deans coached Barbarians, where a potential matchup against his brother Ardie Savea has older brother Julian feeling somewhat conflicted.

"I'm just going to step him," Savea laughs.

"It's going to be weird. Strange to be coming up against Ardie but at the same time it will be pretty cool."

A pathway back into the All Blacks remains a possibility for Wellington born winger, with national coach Steve Hansen commenting on recently that Savea has 'a few work things to work on' including getting into pristine shape for 2018.

However Savea said his focus is on performing at a high level for the prestigious black and whites this weekend.

"I'm enjoying my rugby. The offseason is going to be really important for me this year. I'm looking to come into 2018 fully prepared in terms of my physical shape and my mentality.

"The door will always be there as long as I can play the best as I can. Whatever happens will happen. I'm focused on this week and preparing well for the Baa-baas.

"It is a little bit strange but very excited for the challenge - very excited about being part of this club. It's very special."

Savea has scored 46 tries in his 54 Test matches, leaving him second to only Doug Howlett on the all-time try-scoring list.


Photo file. Caption: Julian Savea