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Five players to watch: The Hurricanes

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Friday, November 2, 2018    Campbell Burnes    Getty Images

Check out five players to keep an eye on for the Hurricanes in the 2019 Investec Super Rugby season.

Salesi Rayasi:
One of the stand-out wingers in the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup competition, Salesi Rayasi has shown all his potential for Auckland as they took out the Premiership title in 2018. Rayasi’s blistering pace saw him cross the line for nine tries while he proved a threat every time he was afforded space. The 21-year-old cuts quite a figure out wide at 1.9m and 105kg and his inclusion in the 2019 Hurricanes squad was due reward for his form in the Auckland jersey. A former New Zealand Sevens rep, Rayasi was born and raised in Lower Hutt, the St Patrick’s College Silverstream old boy will be returning home.

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Billy Proctor:
The New Zealand Under-20 rep became the first Hurricanes player to sign a five-year contract when he put pen to paper several months ago.
The 19-year-old utility back is equally adept in the midfield or on the wing and has impressed everyone with his maturity while playing for the Wellington Lions.
The younger brother of experienced Hurricanes midfielder Matt Proctor, Billy’s all-round game is expected to develop at a rapid rate once he becomes a full-time professional.

Vince Aso:
Vince Aso had been in fantastic form for the Hurricanes in 2018 before a wrist injury cut short his season. He is expected to return and play a prominent role for the club in 2019 when he will again be able to play a number of positions in the backline. The 23-year-old has an outstanding strike rate when it comes to scoring tries for the Hurricanes having crossed 21 times in his 40 appearances.
Vaea Fifita:
Vaea Fifita’s form at blindside flanker for the Wellington Lions during the Mitre 10 Cup season saw him recalled to the All Blacks for the northern hemisphere tour.
The 26-year-old has made no secret of his desire to make the Hurricanes No 6 jersey his in 2019 after the departure of Brad Shields and there will be plenty of fans who hope he does. Fifita should prove a formidable opponent for anyone as he goes about trying to make the Rugby World Cup squad for the defending champions.

Dane Coles:
The Hurricanes captain is desperate to play a big part in the upcoming Investec Super Rugby season after he missed the entire 2018 campaign as he worked his way back from a serious knee injury. The 100-cap Hurricanes hooker has proven to be one of the world’s best in his position and will be desperate to double the club’s number of Super Rugby titles when he returns. The strength of Coles’ game has always been his ability to do his core roles superbly while contributing plenty around the field and that should not change in 2019.