1 Oct 2019

Savea eyes up Canada at Rugby World Cup

2:01 pm on 1 October 2019

Deteriorating eyesight has prompted All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea to wear rugby goggles.

He will debut the the goggles in tomorrow's Rugby World Cup match against Canada, after trialling them at training this week.

The move comes after Savea discovered that his vision had deteriorated in his left eye and realised he had to protect his eyesight.

Savea is not the first international player to use the eyeware - Italy's Ian McKinley who was the first to wear the goggles.

"A couple of years ago I realised I had bad vision in my left eye. Everything's kind of blurry," Savea said.

Savea said the problem has been getting worse.

"Doc (team doctor Tony Page) notified me that World Rugby had some goggles that were approved and everyone has been really supportive. In terms of vision and seeing, it's pretty sweet, and it's now just a matter of getting used to them."

In May this year World Rugby approved the use of the goggles at all levels of rugby to allow those who are visually impaired to play the game.

They are designed to be safe for both the player wearing them and those coming into contact with the player.

Ardie Savea's deteriorating eyesight means he will wear rugby goggles in the match against Canada.

Ardie Savea's deteriorating eyesight means he will wear rugby goggles in the match against Canada. Photo: Getty Images

Savea has worn the goggles at training in Beppu this week and they haven't affected his ability to play the game at the highest level, and he was now ready to wear them in the Test against Canada tomorrow.

"It's probably been the most challenging conditions that you can get (to test them). Humidity at up to 90 percent, 20 degrees (temperature) or so, and hard All Blacks training, and he's done pretty well," said Page.

Savea said when he realised that he could potentially lose his sight if his other eye was damaged, then it had been an easy decision to make.

"I've got my little girl and hopefully future kids and a bigger family, so I want to be able to see. I'm just thinking of the bigger picture and trying to protect my eyes."

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