'Bloody tough' sessions have Ardie Savea on cusp of Rio-ABs double

Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea says New Zealand Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens' legendary training sessions are "bloody tough", but the in-form No.7 believes they have played a key part in his flying start to Super Rugby.

Savea is in contention for a spot in New Zealand's squad for the Rio Olympics, having impressed in the All Blacks Sevens' twin World Series victories in Wellington and Sydney.

He has since returned to Wellington and slotted straight back into the Hurricanes back-row; Chris Boyd's side now looking a lot more like the team that made it all the way to last year's Super Rugby final after two opening defeats in 2016.

"To be honest I felt pretty good switching from Sevens to 15s," Savea told ESPN. "I felt a lot fitter and I didn't really find the transition tough.

"If it was tough it was more transitioning from 15s to Sevens, in terms of the conditioning and the training load. But no, I didn't find it that hard.

"Just being a lot faster on the field (helps); in the Sevens you're always sprinting everywhere and that kind of helps in the 15s, you know getting to places a lot more quicker than what you usually do. So that's pretty good."

Tietjens' brutal fitness regime is the stuff of legend across the Tasman, with the veteran Sevens boss known to run his troops ragged - particularly during the preseason.

Savea felt that pain on his very first day in camp early in the summer.

"No it's totally different," he said when asked to compare it with his 15s training.

"Sevens conditioning is bloody tough; it's hard to explain, mate. You've gotta do it to feel the pain; (there's) nothing like that in 15s.

"It (toughest session) was probably the first day, the body wasn't used to that training load. You know the first couple of days in the camp with all the running load and everything ... it was pretty tough."

Savea will rejoin the All Blacks 7s set-up for the final two legs of the World Series in Paris and London, giving him two more events to push for a spot in Tietjens' 14-man Olympic line-up.

For now, he is focused on the Hurricanes' season which continues on Friday against competition lightweights, Southern Kings. "Yeah you know we don't see it that way; we take it week by week and we think every game's a Test match," Savea said of the Kings.

"So we know the Kings are going to come up here and try and fizz up, and try and physically dominate us and bully us. So we know what's coming and it's going to bloody tough to put down the Kings boys...it will be a good match."

Asked about his brother Julian's omission from the Hurricanes' 23 this week, Savea replied: "Na, mate, to my eyes he's still the world's best winger; but I'm not too sure what's going on. Ask the coaches, I guess, I don't know."

The Olympics are certainly within Ardie Savea's reach and he is also in contention for the All Blacks No.7 jersey which is finally vacant following Richie McCaw's retirement.

Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane will likely be given first crack but it's hard to see Savea not earning his Test debut before the year is out.

"Oh, mate, you know I kind of try and not think about it," Savea told ESPN of his All Blacks hopes.

"I try and worry about now and week by week, and at the moment I'm just worrying about playing well with the Canes if I get the opportunity.

"Every week I'm just trying to play the best I can for the Hurricanes and the brothers, and see where that takes me. So that's kind of where my head's at."