May 05, 2021
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Rayasi opts for Canes over Olympic spot

Hurricanes winger Salesi Rayasi has turned down the Olympic sevens gold medal offer and committed to his 15s team for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

The son of former Fijian International Filipe Rayasi, last month said he was still weighing up a chance to join New Zealand sevens for their build-up to Tokyo in July, having last played for them in Sydney in February 2020.

Hurricanes Coach Jason Holland confirmed to Stuff.co.nz about Rayasi’s decision made on Tuesday while setting captain Ardie Savea’s targeted return from a knee injury as the Brumbies match in Canberra on June 5.

Holland said Rayasi was full steam ahead for their five-week trans-Tasman joust starting against the Waratahs in Sydney next Friday.

“Sas is pretty much 15s with us. Unless I get a surprise, he’s pretty keen to play the Trans-Tasman and stick with that,” Holland told Stuff.

“Basically it hasn’t been too much of a discussion. If it was 50-50 it probably would have been more of a discussion. From what I gather he’s pretty intent on putting all his time and effort into 15s.”

Aged 24, it is a probability now or never for Rayasi’s Olympic aspirations as he chases an All Blacks jersey.

Top try scorer in last year’s NPC with 14 for runners-up Auckland, Rayasi started five times for the Hurricanes in their disappointing Aotearoa campaign which ended 2-6 and bottom of the ladder, both their wins over the Highlanders.

He was a regular threat last Friday and his late try-took his season tally to three, equal with team-mates Jordie Barrett and Asafo Aumua atop the Hurricanes’ list.

Cutting out handling errors and working hard to get in good position were Rayasi’s must-improve areas as Holland described him as “phenomenal” with the ball in hand.

By Romeka Romena   


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