The news of Jarryd Hayne’s decision to swap the red and gold of the San Francisco 49ers for the white and black of the Fijian Rugby 7’s team travelled quickly across the globe.
For one thing, it came out of nowhere. In fact, the first thing I did was check the date to make sure I hadn’t returned to the 1st of April!
Sure enough, the story was as real as my calendar telling me it was still mid-May.
That doesn’t mean I understand what the hell is going on though!
Some have said he has decided to pursue his new Olympic “dream” because he was tapped on the shoulder by the 49ers coaching staff. Hayne has denied this and I don’t believe it either.
In my eyes, Hayne was a still an unknown quantity. Yes, his first season was less than perfect but a lot of rookie’s find that their first season is less than what was expected.
But with new coach Chip Kelly coming in, Hayne could have become the “X-Factor” that he was initially touted as.
So, to be told “Listen, we don’t think you’re going to cut it after all” before Kelly has had a real opportunity to put Hayne through his paces and find out what he can really do, doesn’t add up to me.
Something has happened though.
Either Hayne felt that he wasn’t going to get the job after all, or he got wind of another opportunity that might be more beneficial for him.
And easier to attain.
Cast your mind back just last week. What happened?
Yes, a lot. But within the rugby ranks, something massive happened.
Waratahs and Wallabies star Kurtley Beale signed a contract to play for the London Wasps in England on a two-year deal worth $1.45 million per season.
Hayne wasn’t on that much at the 49ers and his ability to earn that much as a punt returner/fill in running back wasn’t promising.
His beloved Eels certainly couldn’t afford to pay that much (well, they could but...you know…) and he probably wouldn’t be able to go to any other team at this point of the season either, so that isn’t really an option.
But Beale’s deal could mean that English rugby, as well as French rugby as they have shown that they love to splash out for a player that can get bums on seats and sponsors through the doors, might be an option.
But how do you get from being a San Francisco 49er to English or French rugby?
Well Hayne, a devout Christian, may well testify in later years that the Lord truly works in mysterious ways.
You see in 2008, Hayne was selected to play for his father’s native country of Fiji for the Rugby League World
Cup. Hayne says he found God during his time with the Bati and this helped him go onto bigger and better things.
Hard to argue with that.
But this experience opened the door for him to represent Fiji elsewhere.
Such as, oh I don’t know, as part of their Rugby 7’s squad for the Olympics perhaps?
Now that all sounds nice and convenient right? Absolutely!
As soon as word came out that he was going to play for Fiji, there was a chorus of “Good on him!” “Follow your dream Jarryd!” “Gridiron just didn’t work out, this will be better!” and so on and so forth.
It was as though he was being congratulated for seeing the error of his ways when he went to the NFL and was now on his way to coming back to where all of these well-wisher’s think he belongs – in rugby league.
Therefore, it was okay for him to do this. A means to an end if you will.
Well, his trip to Rio hasn’t exactly been rubber stamped yet, but he’s gotten himself out of the USA and off contract with the 49ers. Which is what I think he was really trying to do.
As for his future after the Olympics (if he gets there), well that really is anyone’s guess. But you’d have to think he will either be back in the NRL for a team that will be paying top dollar for his services or in European rugby earning an absolute motza.
Or maybe it’ll come down to when he next takes a kip.
The Good Lord may well tell him to follow whatever new dream he just had.
And only Heaven knows what that will be.