Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
New Zealand New Zealand
France France

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

Related

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

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

USER NOTICE:

As part of a series of planned improvements, we will need you to reset your RugbyPass password from 24/07/24 to continue commenting on articles.

You don’t need to change anything until that time.

Thank you,

Comments

12 Comments
J
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.

N
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.

S
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.

P
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

F
Flatcoat 14 days ago

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

U
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!

Load More Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

W
Wonton 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

18 Go to comments
N
Nick 4 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

14 Go to comments
FEATURE
FEATURE Japan embrace chaos theory in bid for Olympic surprise Japan embrace chaos theory in bid for Olympic surprise
Search