Rayasi pumped to start for Hurricanes against Chiefs

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While he also has a decision to make regarding availability for the All Blacks Sevens and their Olympic Games bid, Rayasi was looking forward to starting against a Chiefs team on a roll.

 

Rather than being frustrated by his situation Rayasi said it was a case where he had to make the most of his opportunities when they came.

 

He said he knew with so much strength in the outside backs that he needed to chip away and work hard.

 

He acknowledged the influence former All Blacks wing Julian Savea had on the group, and on him, since his return from France, which had been a significant confidence-booster.

 

One area he felt he had improved was in positional understanding. It was a case of understanding where, if the ball wasn't coming his way, he could get a touch or where he could be involved.

 

"That's something I've put more of a focus on. I feel like I've improved," he said.

 

Rayasi said he felt he could still get a lot better.

 

"There's aspects of the game where I feel I can have an impact and I think there're opportunities out there that I'm leaving, compared to last year where I hadn't seen those opportunities, and I feel like I can make the right adjustments each start I get," he said.

 

 

Having to cope with the momentum the Chiefs have developed, especially after beating the Crusaders, was the challenge for the Hurricanes this week.

 

"We've got to go up there and walk towards it and not be intimidated by that. We know it's a challenge," he said.

 

Thoughts of participating in the Olympic Games with the All Blacks Sevens was not a factor as he was concentrating on making the Hurricanes' 23 each week.

 

When the need to make a Games decision came around he would worry about it then. That wasn't far away as the Sevens team was getting into preparation mode and would be travelling to Australia soon for warm-up games.

 

Assistant coach Chris Gibbes said the challenge for the Hurricanes would be to play their game for longer periods than they have achieved this season.

 

"They are a team that's in massive form at the moment, they are playing a good brand of footy so, again, we've got to make sure we look after the ball and play at the right end of the field," Gibbes said.

 

Ruben Love has been retained at first five-eighths and Gibbes said the coaching staff were happy with him. The side's form had not been great but Love had been able to be himself in his play.

 

"I can only see this kid growing and getting better and better. He's made a start now and the most important thing that happens next is backing that up," he said.

 

While a place in the final was beyond the Hurricanes now, they did still have two big games to play and wanted to perform well, while the Australian leg of the season was to follow and that would be exciting, but they were not thinking about that yet.

 

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