Hayne out of Rio Games

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

FOR­MER Aus­tralian rugby league and Amer­i­can foot­ball star Jar­ryd Hayne’s dreams of Olympic glory ended yes­ter­day when he was cut from the Fiji sev­ens squad for the Rio Games.

Hayne, who in May ditched a ca­reer in Amer­i­can grid­iron with the San Fran­cisco 49ers to join the Fi­jians, said coach Ben Ryan broke the news to him on July 8 and he ac­cepted the de­ci­sion.

The 28-year-old said he had not given him­self enough time to tran­si­tion into sev­ens, which will de­but at this year’s Olympics.

“As much as I would have loved to go to Rio, I too knew I wasn’t ready yet,” he said in a state­ment on Face­book.

Hayne said the phys­i­cal de­mands of sev­ens, a fast-mov­ing short­ened form of rugby union, were too much, even though he pushed his body “above and beyond”.

“I used all my ex­pe­ri­ence as a pro­fes­sional ath­lete and have tried ev­ery­day and in ev­ery way pos­si­ble to make this team and make it bet­ter but, un­for­tu­nately, time has been against me,” he added.

Hayne gen­er­ated in­tense in­ter­est last year after forc­ing his way onto the 49ers ros­ter after walk­ing away from a lu­cra­tive rugby league ca­reer in Aus­tralia.

But he en­joyed only flashes of suc­cess dur­ing a dif­fi­cult first NFL sea­son and jumped at the chance of join­ing Fiji’s world ti­tle-win­ning sev­ens squad for the Games.

Ryan said Hayne could have pushed for se­lec­tion with more time and praised the player’s work ethic and at­ti­tude, ad­mit­ting fel­low squad mem­bers would miss him.

“He has made an in­deli­ble im­pres­sion on all of them and the man­age­ment. No rock-star at­ti­tude. No de­mand­ing be­hav­iour,” he said.

Hayne made his name play­ing for the Parramatta Eels in the Aus­tralian Na­tional Rugby League, dur­ing which time he won 12 caps for the Kan­ga­roos and four for Fiji, from where his fa­ther hailed.

He also played 20 times for New South Wales in State of Ori­gin but said he needed a new chal­lenge when he left for the United States.

After his axing, Hayne said he would re­turn to Syd­ney to con­sider his fu­ture but has hinted at a move to 15s rugby, pos­si­bly in France or Ja­pan.

“If he de­cides to stay in union then I have no doubt he will make a world-class cen­tre or full back,” Ryan said.

“I’d rec­om­mend him highly to any or­gan­i­sa­tion.” –

Photo: AFP

Hayne was cut from Fiji’s sev­ens squad.

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