Tokyo Olympics: Hurricanes winger Salesi Rayasi turns down Olympic sevens to play Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, says coach

  • 05/05/2021

Hurricanes winger Salesi Rayasi has reportedly turned down the chance of representing New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics, instead opting to focus on Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

With the Tokyo Games delayed by a year thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a number of sevens stars have plied their trade in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Rayasi, 24, is one of a handful of current Super Rugby players in line for a tilt at the Olympic Sevens tournament, alongside the likes of Jona Nareki of the Highlanders, Etene Nanai-Seturo of the Chiefs, and All Blacks and Blues winger Caleb Clarke.

The young winger has represented New Zealand in four legs of the World Sevens Series, with the most recent being in Sydney in February last year, before COVID-19 saw the series put on ice.

Speaking to Stuff, Hurricanes coach Jason Holland says that Rayasi will stay with the Wellington side heading into Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

"Sas [Rayasi] is pretty much 15s with us," Holland says.

"Unless I get a surprise, he's pretty keen to play the Trans-Tasman and stick with that.

"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."

Rayasi scored three tries in the Super Rugby Aotearoa round robin, leading the Hurricanes' stats equal with Jordie Barrett and Asafo Aumua, as well as finishing as the most prolific scorer in last year's Mitre 10 Cup, crossing over 14 times for Auckland.

New Zealand's men's and women's sevens sides will assemble to play warm-up fixtures against Australia, coach Clark Laidlaw told Newshub.

The Hurricanes will begin their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman campaign against the Waratahs in Sydney next Friday.

Join Newshub for live updates of the Super Rugby Aotearoa final between the Crusaders and Chiefs from 7:05pm Saturday.