June 27, 2019 / 4:53 AM / 6 months ago

Rugby-Rayasi gets shot at redemption against full-strength Crusaders

WELLINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) - Rookie winger Salesi Rayasi has been given a chance at redemption after he was named to start for the Wellington Hurricanes in their Super Rugby semi-final against the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Rayasi scored two tries when he came off the bench to replace the injured Wes Goosen in the quarter-final against the Bulls, but also conceded a penalty try, received a yellow card and failed to stop Cornal Hendricks scoring a try with a weak tackle.

The 22-year-old is the only change to the starting lineup from the Bulls game, with Goosen ruled out due to the injury he sustained last week.

All Blacks loose forward Vaea Fifita has been brought back into the squad after a three-match suspension for a red card he received against the Sharks in Durban to provide loose forward cover from the bench.

The nine-time champion Crusaders have named a full-strength side for the clash with seven members of their starting pack having played for the All Blacks.

Blindside flanker Whetu Douglas is the only non-capped player in the forwards.

The Hurricanes had the second-highest points tally this season and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said his team had prepared accordingly for a “quality” side.

“They’re well-coached, with genuine attacking threats across the park, so we know there is a massive challenge ahead of us this weekend,” he said.

Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara will become his side’s highest capped player with his 127th appearance, while Crusaders flanker Jordan Taufua will make his 100th appearance for the team from the bench.

Canterbury Crusaders: 15-David Havili, 14-Sevu Reece, 13-Jack Goodhue, 12-Ryan Crotty, 11-George Bridge, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 9-Bryn Hall, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Matt Todd, 6-Whetu Douglas, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Scott Barrett, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16-Andrew Makalio, 17-George Bower, 18-Michael Alaalatoa, 19-Luke Romano, 20-Jordan Taufua, 21-Mitchell Drummond, 22-Mitchell Hunt, 23-Braydon Ennor.

Wellington Hurricanes: 15-Jordie Barrett, 14-Salesi Rayasi, 13-Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12-Ngani Laumape, 11-Ben Lam, 10-Beauden Barrett, 9-TJ Perenara, 8-Gareth Evans, 7-Ardie Savea, 6-Reed Prinsep, 5-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4-James Blackwell, 3-Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2-Dane Coles, 1-Toby Smith.

Replacements: 16-Asafo Aumua, 17-Xavier Numia, 18-Ben May, 19-Kane Le’aupepe, 20-Vaea Fifita, 21-Richard Judd, 22-James Marshall, 23-Jonah Lowe.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ian Ransom

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