SPORTS

Rabele: Hayne Has Fiji At Heart

The man, who Jarryd Hayne once acknowledged for helping put his sporting career back on track, was least surprised of his intention to play for the Vodafone Fijian 7s team
18 May 2016 13:02
Rabele: Hayne Has Fiji At Heart
From left: Vodafone Fijian 7s reps Isake Katonibau, captain Osea Kolinisau, coach Ben Ryan, Pio Tuwai and Jarryd Hayne recently during the Sydney Sevens tournament.

The man, who Jarryd Hayne once acknowledged for helping put his sporting career back on track, was least surprised of his intention to play for the Vodafone Fijian 7s team in the Olympic Games.

The former rugby league superstar stepped down from the San Francisco 49ers to join the Vodafone Fijians for this weekend’s London 7s.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday former Vodafone Fijian Bati head coach Josaia Rabele said Hayne always had Fiji at heart.

“It is probably that Fiji offered him the lifeline that helped resurrected his sporting career and pushed him to stardom,” Rabele said yesterday.

“I still remember in 2008 as a 20-year-old, Jarryd was dropped from the Australian Kangaroos for his involvement in a shooting incident and there was a lot of negative publicity about him on the Australian media.”

The no-nonsense coach said amidst all of that the Fiji National Rugby League officials at that time approached him to play for the Bati at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

“Jarryd joined us in camp and it took him time to settle in because the environment was far different than the one in Australia. But despite the tough conditions, he saw players were always looking after each another and what held us together was our faith in God. It was through the daily devotions from Talatala Tagi that helped Jarryd developed spiritually.”

Rabele said after the World Cup in 2008, Hayne’s sporting career took off and what made him much stronger now was his new found faith.

“I’m proud of Jarryd and what he has achieved. At the last World Cup in 2013, the Australian Kangaroos tried everything to keep him but when we were in England he was always there with us, in the hotel, dressing room and even in our daily devotions.”

 

LONDON SEVENS

Rabele said he is confident of Hayne making Vodafone Fijian 7s head coach, Ben Ryan’s final 12-member squad for the London tournament.

“This is going to be a good build-up for him in playing sevens rugby and getting to know other players as well.”

In his view, Rabele says, that Hayne should be tried out at rover.

“He is sharp with both feet and could go either way. And the players coming in to provide support should always be alert and be there once he has the ball at hand and  Jarryd also has the ability to offload as well.”

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

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