JARRYD HAYNE has given the biggest indication to date that he is likely to turn out for Fiji Bati in the Rugby League World Cup.
Hayne played for New South Wales in Origin 2017 but has previously played for Fiji and told the NRL’s website that he was planning around returning to the Bati in the autumn.
“Australia has got a ton of talent, a lot of guys younger than me. It’s obviously up to the coach but for me I’m probably looking forward to playing with Fiji at the moment, knowing how much talent and depth Australia’s got” he said.
“It’s definitely something that I look forward to. It’s been great for me to play for Australia and Fiji, it’s been awesome.”
Hayne played for Fiji in the 2008 tournament before winning the 2013 edition with the Kangaroos. He also tried out for Fiji’s Olympic Gold Medal winning 7s squad for Rio 2016.
Hayne would be able to take advantage of a change in eligibility rules that has been enacted in recent years. Players with dual heritage can put themselves forward for a Tier One nation – England, New Zealand or Australia – and then if not selected, play for a pre-nominated Tier Two or Three nation.
An Origin-eligible player, such as Hayne, can remain available for Australia until their squad is picked, before switching to Fiji if not included.
Samoa, for example, picked Josh McGuire and Anthony Milford for their clash with England in May, before both players were called up to play for Queensland. In all likelihood, both will again turn out for Samoa in the World Cup.