The Hurricanes look set to pounce on one of the Mitre 10 Cup's brightest stars for the 2019 Super Rugby season.
The Herald understands the club is very interested in bringing Auckland winger Salesi Rayasi back home to Wellington.
However, as much as they might want the young star in their system, the club were thought to only be offering Rayasi a spot in their wider squad, which means another team could swoop in on the young speedster and offer him a full contract by the time squads are announced on Wednesday.
It would be quite the turnaround for the 22-year-old, who briefly gave up on rugby to pursue basketball in 2016. He regained his love of the sport not long after when selected in a Samoan under-20s squad, before going on to forge a name for himself for New Zealand in the sevens squad.
And after one match for Wellington at the NPC level in 2016, he was snapped up by Auckland, and this year has had a breakout campaign. Scoring nine tries in 11 matches to help the side to their first NPC final since 2015, Rayasi has played a key role for the high flying side. He's among the top three highest try scores this season, having a major impact on what was the second best offensive side in the regular season.
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Tomorrow evening, the Auckland side will face a familiar foe at Eden Park, with Canterbury in town on the hunt for their fourth straight premiership title. The two sides met in the 2015 final, where Canterbury claimed a 25-23 win.
While Canterbury had a stagnant start to their season, suffering early losses at the hands of Tasman and Auckland, the defending champions found their way through the back end of the season and hit their peak just in time for the playoffs. In a rematch of their round one clash, Canterbury proved to be too strong for Tasman and claimed a 21-17 win.
Auckland's season started with a bang, suffering a minor hiccup against championship finalists Otago in the late rounds. However, their decimation of Wellington in the semifinals showed they were up to the task of sudden death football and have put the Cantabrians on notice.
Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final
Auckland v Canterbury
Eden Park, Auckland, 4.05pm kick-off.
Auckland: Jordan Trainor, Melani Nanai, Tumua Manu, TJ Faiane (c), Salesi Rayasi, Harry Plummer, Jonathan Ruru, Akira Ioane, Adrian Choat, Evan Olmstead, Michael Fatialofa, Fa'atiga Lemalu, Marcel Renata, Robbie Abel, Sam Prattley. Reserves: Mike Sosene-Feagai, Jarred Adams, Marco Fepulea'i, Taleni Seu, Hoskins Sotutu, Leon Fukofuka, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Caleb Clarke.
Canterbury: George Bridge, Josh McKay, Braydon Ennor, Phil Burleigh, Caleb Makene, Brett Cameron, Mitchell Drummond (c), Luke Whitelock, Billy Harmon, Reed Prinsep, Mitchell Dunshea, Luke Romano, Sef Fa'agase, Nathan Vella, Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Harry Allan, Chris King, Tom Sanders, Tom Christie, Ereatara Enari, Sam Beard, Ngane Punivai.