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Ardie Savea emerges as All Blacks' go-to man after stellar performance against Boks

Ardie Savea is among players whose performances on the opening weekend of the Rugby World Cup put them among the leaders in the race to become the star of the tournament.

There was no more dominating figure in the Pool B blockbuster between New Zealand and South Africa than Savea, who carried the ball for 62 metres, made eight tackles and won two turnovers. Savea's punishing runs contributed to both of New Zealand's tries.

Surprisingly, the Man of the Match award went to All Blacks fullback Beauden Barrett whose contribution was less imporant but more conspicuous.

Before the match Barrett had singled out Savea as a player central to the All Blacks' game plan.

"His work rate is immense," Barrett said.

"The influence he is on a rugby game when it comes to the breakdown, but then you see him run around wingers on the edges. He's probably our most influential player in terms of work rate that we have at the moment."

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The flanker only enhanced his reputation after yesterday’s 92-7 victory over Tonga. Source: 1 NEWS

This World Cup may be Savea's breakout moment on the world stage. He began his international career in the shadow of his brother, Julian Savea, and has taken time to establish himself in New Zealand's starting lineup, making most of impressive forays from the bench.

As openside flanker, he has been ranked behind starting No. 7 Sam Cane. But the absence from the New Zealand squad of blindside flanker Liam Squire has seen Savea take over the No. 6 jersey.

Though he is considered small by regular standards for a No. 6, the All Blacks have been able to deploy him in a way which makes maximum use of his skills.

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Savea's display earned stellar reviews from coach Steve Hansen and teammate Dane Coles. Source: 1 NEWS