'It's just ridiculous': The All Blacks left-wing picture becoming a logjam as fans can't separate options
As Super Rugby Trans-Tasman rolls on with more dominant performances against the Australian names, the candidates for Clarke’s vacant All Black jersey keep delivering impressive performances.
Former Sevens player Salesi Rayasi was at it again for the Hurricanes against the Force, scoring two tries including a long-range effort that showed off some silky football skills as a chip-kicked a loose pass up into his grasp.
We knew he had pace, but how about that footwork?
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) May 28, 2021
The Hurricanes left wing has been in top form in 2021, bringing an offloading game to the table that no other left wing in New Zealand has. His 12 offloads in Super Rugby Aotearoa were the most of any left wing.
After starting the season on the bench behind Julian Savea, Rayasi has pushed himself into the starting line-up and been near on unstoppable at times on the Hurricanes’ edge.
— DRD (@NZedAUS) May 28, 2021
Salesi Rayasi is built different man!
— Babayaga. (@anomoyikwa) May 28, 2021
Salesi Rayasi has such a good skill set, pace, power, offloading, good left boot and reads the game very well ?????? #HURvHIG
— Aaron Smith's Pass ?? (@Doc_Torio) April 30, 2021
All Blacks need Salesi Rayasi! Always dangerous with the ball in hand
— Ntale Joshua (@NtaleJoshua) April 30, 2021
Salesi Rayasi All Black?
— HoF Bucket Boy (@Ahell0) May 8, 2021
Crusaders wing-transformed-centre Leicester Fainga’anuku again demonstrated his power game against the Waratahs, with strong running helping set-up a handful of Crusader tries.
Having scored a stunning try against the Chiefs earlier in the season, Fainga’anuku was called on to fill the void in the midfield left by Jack Goodhue’s injury and has furthered his cause with impressive showings.
His blockbusting running in Super Rugby Aotearoa busted through 23 tackles, the most of any player while he also added seven line breaks to his name which was top five in the competition.
As a versatile option that can cover 11 and 13, his value to Ian Foster and the All Blacks is clear.
This is it 11 should be Leicester Fainga’anuku the beast Caleb hasn’t showed the form he was in last year he has really struggled to impress this season
— Karl?? (@jameskalima6) May 24, 2021
Imagine, the next AB squad will (should) likely include two of the best new wingers in Jona Nareki and Leicester Fainga'anuku. Take your pick at 15 and it's just ridiculous. https://t.co/Nzm9zHV87l
— Éanna (@eanna_e) May 29, 2021
Leicester Fainga'anuku immense tonight
— Frog the Keeper (@Frogthekeeper) May 8, 2021
Leicester Fainga’anuku https://t.co/YPeN5LiQcw
— Fazriq Aris (@eriiiiqqq) April 26, 2021
Highlanders wing Jona Nareki has also thrown his hat in the ring in 2021, scoring five tries in Super Rugby Aotearoa as one of the most dynamic attacking threats in the country.
He has continued that form in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, combining with Aaron Smith to score a well-worked set-piece try against the Force.
jona nareki is seriously special #FORvHIG
— kirst (@fornairobi) May 21, 2021
Jona Nareki is deceptively strong ?? New Zealand have so many great left-wingers at the moment 1??1?? ?Clarke, Bridge, Rayasi, Nareki, Nanai-Seturo & Fainga’anuku.
With Clarke at the 7s I think there’s space for a new face, Rayasi for me but I think Fainga’anuku will get the nod
— Aaron Smith’s Pass ?? (@Doc_Torio) May 14, 2021
With a proposed series against Fiji and Tonga, the All Blacks could use those tests to blood some new talent before playing the Wallabies, Pumas and Springboks in The Rugby Championship.
There are no shortage of options for Foster to choose from as the international season approaches, giving the All Blacks an enviable level of depth.
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