World Cup winner Savea, 27, has not played for the All Blacks since the final Test against the Lions in July, having scored his 46th Test try three weeks earlier against Samoa to leave him three short of Howlett’s mark of 49.
Howlett, Munster’s head of commercial and marketing, joked on BBC 5 live’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast: “I’ve tried to talk Munster into signing Julian Savea and getting him up here but at this stage it’s not a position we’re looking for.”
Howlett added: “It’s not in my job description but, obviously, with my track record and understanding of the New Zealand environment, I am asked my opinion. And when it comes to someone who’s chasing a record of yours down in New Zealand, I gave them the full thumbs up and tried my best to get him here but it wasn’t to be.
“I’ll enjoy (the record) while I can. It’s been 10 years and I think it’s about time that somebody comes along and takes this. If it’s Julian, I’d be happy for him.”