New Zealand forward Ardie Savea will make Rugby World Cup history on Wednesday when he wears goggles in the All Blacks’ clash against Canada.
Savea’s move comes after he discovered that vision had deteriorated in his left eye, and he needed protection.
He will follow Italy international Ian McKinley, who was the first Test player to wear the specially-designed rugby goggles.
“A couple of years ago I realised I had bad vision in my left eye. Everything is kind of blurry,” Savea said, in a statement released by the All Blacks.
“I told All Blacks doctor Tony Page that it was getting worse, and now we are doing something about it.
“He 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.
“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.”
World Rugby approved use of the goggles at all levels of rugby earlier this year, allowing those who are visually-impaired to play the game. Approval followed extensive development and trialling of the eye-wear.
Dr Page said that 25-year-old flanker Savea, who has won 40 caps, had worn the goggles at training this week and they had not affected his ability to play the game at the highest level.
“It’s probably been the most challenging conditions that you can get (to test them) – humidity at up to 90 per cent, 20 degrees (Celsius in temperature) or so, and hard All Blacks training, and he’s done pretty well,” Dr Page said.
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