Rayasi hungry for success in 2022

And in his first outing, he used it to bag a hat-trick scoring his last to give the Hurricanes a sniff that they took to achieve a last-minute 33-32 win over the Blues in Dunedin on Saturday.


Rayasi said he was more hungry to help the team, whether by scoring tries, making more tackles or looking for work.


The Crusaders, who beat the Hurricanes in their first game, and the Blues, who won last year's Super Rugby Tasman title, were the two teams that set the standards in New Zealand, and they were where the Hurricanes needed to be, he said.


The Highlanders on Saturday in Wellington would pose a different threat than the Blues. They showed that in the first 10 minutes in their game against the Crusaders.


The Hurricanes were looking to develop a plan to nullify the Highlanders' approach but were also conscious that they needed to sort out their issues, Rayasi said.


Assistant coach Tyler Bleyendaal said: "We made it hard for ourselves in the first half and even into the second half. We didn't have a lot of possession, we were up against it in the tackle count and just showed character to stay in the game and fight for every opportunity and it was an exciting victory at the end of it."

Having more of the ball towards the end of the game had contributed to their fightback from 14-32 down. That was also the case in their unsuccessful comeback against the Crusaders a week earlier.


"And we did better things with it. We were more decisive in our carries, more accurate around our breakdown. It shows that we have it within us, and it's positive that we can finish games like that. But we would much rather be happier at the halftime break having had a bit more ball and a balanced first half," he said.


There would be no respite either because they face the Highlanders next. They are a physical side in all the contact areas, he said.


Playing usual wing Julian Savea at second five-eighths had worked out well. He looked established, Bleyendaal said, and he was comfortable in the defence roles.


"I thought he added a bit as well on the attack. We're creating a few different combinations that we can use and go to throughout the season, so it will be interesting to see how that shapes out in the coming weeks.


"It gives us the flexibility to play some different combinations depending on the games that we're looking to play. We're happy with the depth we're building," he said.


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