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Salesi Rayasi departs Hurricanes as Blues and Chiefs make key re-signings

By Ned Lester
Salesi Rayasi of the Hurricanes reacts during the round 15 Super Rugby Pacific match between Hurricanes and Highlanders at Sky Stadium, on June 01, 2024, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

As the dust settles on the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, it’s becoming clearer what 2025 has in store, and where the opportunities lie for the next generation of talent.


Salesi Rayasi has called time on his electric Hurricanes career, signing a two-year deal with French club Vannes after 50 games with the Wellington club.

The X-factor outside back was again magnificent for the club this season, earning his starting jersey by the season’s end after competing with Kini Naholo on the left wing.

Rayasi forgoes his All Blacks eligibility with the move but has expressed his keenness to play for Fiji in the future.

Meanwhile, at the Blues, the club have re-signed two of their strongest performers in 2024, inking a two-year extension with 23-year-old halfback Taufa Funaki and a three-year extension with 30-year-old Maori All Blacks prop Marcel Renata.

Renata was a prominent figure in the Blues’ remarkable forward pack in 2024, proving to be one of the country’s premier scrummagers and contributing to the powerful tight game the team evolved en route to the title.

Funaki was a standout in the absence of All Black Finlay Christie, ensuring the team lost no punch or quality while the 2023 Rugby World Cup runner-up was sidelined through injury.


The Chiefs have also got in on the action by putting pen to paper with promising young playmaker Josh Jacomb. That contract is a two-year deal.

Jacomb enjoyed a breakout 2023 NPC season with Taranaki before being named in the wider Chiefs squad for 2024. The young talent quickly made his mark in the environment and earned his debut as Damian McKenzie was rested.


All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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Jon 13 days ago

again magnificent for the club this season, earning his starting jersey
Isn’t that an oxymoron? And wasn’t that the Hurricanes chose him as the starter, dropping Julian, giving him the chance consistant starts that saw him have such a good season?
Oh, forgot to add, I think Rayasi has real skills, and he’s not a winger, but he is probably going to be pigeonholed there in france, would have liked to see him in league, or going between 12 and 15 in union. His athletic size is his best benifit, followed by share skill to be able to put his mind ot anything. I don’t think he’s that great with the freedom of a union winger. Not just to see the best of him, but because he’s going to find wing just as difficult a position to own for Fiji when it comes to the peak competitions french players will be allowed in.

Nickers 13 days ago

Big loss for the Hurricanes. Good luck to him and hope to see him run out for Fiji some time soon.

SadersMan 13 days ago

Rayasi was a mean AB7s player who left the programme to have a shot at the ABs. Unfortunately the wing position was/is stacked. I think Vannes is a 3rd div team so deffs a step down. Good luck to him.

Paul 13 days ago

Taufa Funaki potential to be a GREAT.. So sad to see only Ardie playing to the standard set by Sotutu in the loose this year.
With so many opportunities out
there to add another try or 2 but not the X facter to finish

Flatcoat 14 days ago

That young 1/5 is a grt prospect for the future..our 1/5 stocks are low..

Utiku Old Boy 14 days ago

Can’t blame Rayasi. Always has time and makes something out of nothing. Perhaps never quite shaded our current crop of AB wings but I preferred him over Naholo. Seems a sensible decision to make more money and potentially represent the rising Fiji in the international arena. Go well and all the best!

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Wonton 3 hours ago
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Nick 4 hours ago
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