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Super Rugby Aotearoa: Following Their Father’s Footsteps

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor earlier confirmed all 13 playing in the Super Rugby Aotearoa would be approached to declare their availability.
11 Jun 2020 15:59
Super Rugby Aotearoa: Following Their Father’s Footsteps
L-R: Salesi Rayasi, Hoskins Sotutu, Isaia Walker-Leawere

Sons of former national reps will feature prominently when the Blues host the Hurricanes at Eden Park, Auckland, on Sunday.

Hurricanes Salesi Rayasi and Isaia Walker-Leawere will be against Blues Hoskins Sotutu in the second match of Super Rugby Aotearoa which kicks off at 3.35 pm.

It was natural for all them to be immersed in rugby culture having grown up in a rugby environment.

Rayasi’s father Filipo played 13 times at fullback for Fiji making his debut against the New Zealand Maori in 1994.

“Staring at his photo I would like to think to myself that I’d be like him someday,” Salesi said.

At 1.93m and 105kg, Rayasi is a powerful wing who made a real impact for Auckland in the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup.

Rayasi made his debut off the bench against the Chiefs in Wellington last year and has scored five tries so far.

Isaia is the son of Kele Leawere who capped off his remarkable career scoring a try in the win over Wales at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Nantes, France.

Like his dad, Isaia is a physically imposing lock with great athleticism.

He made his Hurricanes debut in 2018, coming off the bench against the Brumbies in Canberra.

Hoskins is the son of Waisake Sotutu who was the vice-captain for Fiji at the 1999 World Cup.

Hoskins is among the stars unveiled by Blues coach Leon McDonald. He recently relegated former 7s rep Akira Ioane and has solidified his berth at No.8.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter, who is in New Zealand, will be monitoring the players.

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor earlier confirmed all 13 playing in the Super Rugby Aotearoa would be approached to declare their availability.

“Some of them were approached last year but were committed to their Super Rugby contracts,” O’Connor said.

“Vern is in New Zealand and he will approach them again.”
All Blacks duo dealt injury blows on eve of Super Rugby Aotearoa

The Hurricanes have been dealt an injury blow on the eve of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Star utility back Jordie Barrett is in serious doubt to square off against older brother Beauden in this weekend’s clash between the Blues and Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland.

The Wellington club confirmed the 23-year-old didn’t take part in training yesterday after sustaining a knock to his shoulder.

Barrett will monitored throughout the week leading into the grudge match against Beauden, who is expected to make his first Blues appearance since his high-profile transfer to the Auckland franchise from the Hurricanes last year.

An initial report from NZME suggested that Jordie could be out for a minimum of three weeks, but confirmation of his involvement in the fixture will come on Friday, when both sides name their teams to play on Sunday.

Beauden hinted at a Blues press conference on Tuesday that the Hurricanes could be without the services of his 17-test brother.

“Jordie probably won’t be playing,” he said when asked about the on-field war of words that will likely ensue between him and his former teammates.

Jordie isn’t the only All Blacks set to miss out on rugby’s return this weekend, as national skipper Sam Cane will reportedly sit out the Chiefs’ campaign-opener against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.

According to TVNZ, the Chiefs captain has been ruled out with a stiff back and will be a significant absentee from the Hamilton club’s first match in three months.

No time frame has yet been reported about a potential return for Cane.

The clash between the Chiefs and Highlanders will be the first professional rugby match to be held since the coronavirus outbreak suspended all forms of action in March.

It will also be the first event to host a crowd of fans since COVID-19 restrictions banning mass gatherings were put in place.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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