Earlier this week it looked like Jarryd Hayne, while he has joined up with the Flying Fijians in London, would not make it onto the Twickenham turf. Today he can breathe a sigh of relief as it was announced (via World Rugby) he will be featuring for the islanders.
A sevens training squad can consist of a number of players, but only 12 make the roster for a tournament. Today the rosters of all the teams to compete tomorrow and Sunday at Twickenham were announced, and coach Ben Ryan has decided to give Hayne a chance to play, albeit due to an injury elsewhere.
Hayne and Masivesi Dakuwaqa replace Vatemo Ravouvou and Pio Tuwai, who were ruled out by the tournament team doctor today.
Ben Ryan, who has also spoken about the strange phenomenon of being a celebrity in Fiji, while being almost a nobody in his native England in an interview with the BBC, as well as the hopes for the Fijians of winning their first ever Olympic gold medal in anything, was complimentary about Hayne.
“Jarryd is our latest, he has trained well, (it’s a) massive learning curve for him but he has settled in well and he is used to that Fijian side of things off the field when he was with Fiji Bati so that hasn’t been an issue at all.
“He brings a professionalism obviously, and we already have that. We have boys that are at that level where they are self-reliant, self-sufficient and I trust all of them.”
He does add a cautionary note to his compliments though:
“But he comes in from a different angle, he has a great background in rugby league and another professional sport at the highest level. In attack he is comfortable on the ball, he has good spatial awareness and has good footwork.
“In defence he is a good tackler. It is the shape in defence, the breakdown skills, the finer arts and of course the engine, he is not going to have the same fitness as our boys have got but he’s had a good week with us.”
Fiji are currently leading the World Series and look set to take the competition. They have a 14-point lead over the Blitzbokke and a 21-point lead over New Zealand. Realistically this means that for Fiji not to win they are not allowed to win the bowl (seven points for the bowl runner-up), while South Africa have to win the cup (22 points).
For New Zealand to win, they would have to win the cup, Fiji finish bottom and South Africa get no further than winning the plate (13 points).
Paul Peerdeman, Pundit Arena
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