Former Gloucester stalwart Tom Savage on playing for Moana Pasifika

Former Gloucester stalwart Tom Savage on playing for Moana Pasifika

Ahead of the Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals, Ultimate Rugby chatted to former Gloucester and Suntory Sungoliath forward Tom Savage.

Savage (35), was born in England and made his debut for Gloucester in 2011. During the 2013-2014 season he captained the Cherrie and Whites.

In 2019, Savage left Gloucester after eight seasons to play with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan's Top League. He went on to play four seasons with them

In November 2023 he was named in the Moana Pasifika squad for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

1.You have played for Gloucester, Suntory and Moana. In terms of rugby, what would you say is the biggest difference between the 3 teams?

So each of the different teams I’ve played for are in different leagues. The rugby is very different in each league. The prem is very physical, but slower than both Japan & Super rugby with more of an emphasis on the set piece side of the game. I’d say that’s mainly down to the weather conditions the prems played in most of the time. It doesn’t make for running rugby through the winter months. Japan’s a very fast brand of running rugby, but probably not as physical as the other leagues. Super Rugby is physical like the prem & very fast like Japan, so more a blend of the other two. The traveling around in super rugby is tough going.

Savage made his debute for Gloucester back in 2011

2.Why did you chose to play for Moana?

My contract in Japan was coming to an end and I expressed desire to play super rugby to my agent. An opportunity presented itself at Moana and I jumped at it. My first season there has just come to an end and I really enjoyed it. I threw myself into the cultural side of things and learnt so much from group. Rugby wise we saw some big growth over the season and believe there’s a lot more to come from this group which has massive potential.

Playing for Suntory Sungoliath between 2019-2023

3.How was the experience playing for Moana and could you tell us about some of the players you played with?

As I briefly mentioned in my last answer, culturally it was very different to any other environment I’ve ever been in. But I’ve certainly learnt a lot and feel very lucky to be exposed to seeing different ways of doing things.

In terms of the players I felt really welcomed by everyone. The Skipper James Lay, tucked my under his wing from day 1. It was great to connect with some legends of the game in Julian Savea, Sekope Kepu & Christian Lealiifano. There so much talent in the group & lots of guys that had massive seasons for us. The Inisi brothers & Sione Havili Talitui are just 3 of many that you’re chuffed are on your side week to week.

Savage started 12 out of 13 matches for Moana in the 2024 Super Rugby Pacifika.

4.How did a typical training week look like at Moana?

Pretty standard week like most teams I’ve been involved in.
Mon - weights & install
Tues - weights, units & rugby
Wed - recovery
Thurs - weights (power), units & rugby
Fri - captains run
Sat - gameday
Sun - recovery

Savage played 194 times for Gloucester

5.Who do you think will play in the Super Rugby finals?

I’m pretty confident it’ll be a full NZ final. Which will be the Blues vs Chiefs. I’m backing the Chiefs to cause an upset, but I think that one will go down to the wire.


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