The battle for Jarryd Hayne’s post-Olympic future is well and truly on, according to dual-code international Craig Wing.
Just days after announcing his retirement from the NFL, Hayne will meet his new Fijian teammates for the first time when he joins their rugby sevens squad in London on Tuesday (AEST).
But while Hayne channels all his focus on Olympic glory, speculation continues to abound back in Australia on where the former NRL star will take his talents once the Games are over at the end of August.
Hayne’s old club Parramatta have previously claimed working out a lifetime deal with the mercurial superstar when he initially left the club for San Francisco in 2014.
He has also been heavily linked with the Sydney Roosters, while cashed-up rugby clubs in France and Japan could also be throwing open the chequebook.
“I’m looking forward to the bidding war that comes out of this,” Wing told AAP.
One franchise that won’t be competing for Hayne’s signature is the ARU, who were ruled out the moment Hayne decided to represent the Fiji Bati in Rio due to stringent eligibility rules.
Wing hopes Hayne won’t be lured by big money overseas.
“He’s such a big superstar over here so I’d like to see him stay here, whether it’s rugby league or rugby union or whatever he chooses,” he said.
“He’s got so many people following him, and so many people got on board for his adventure to the NFL. I’m sure I’m like everyone else in that I just want to see him play.
“And for that to happen, he needs to be here.”
His manager Wayne Beavis, who ruled out his client from playing rugby union for Fiji as a long-term option, said Hayne had previously never been motivated solely by cash.
“He’s gone from the NRL on a lucrative contract to go over and play in the NFL on a three-year rookie contract, which let me assure you wasn’t on a lot of money,” Beavis told 2SM radio.
“And then he’s left that to go and play for someone who’s just going to pay for his accommodation and travel. It’s all the challenge for Jarryd than anything else. Money’s not a massive motivator for him.”
Wing, who played 256 games in 12 years in the NRL before switching to union, believes Hayne could be a more potent weapon as a league or union player once he improves his cardio.
“He’d need to work on his cardio a little bit,” he said.
“I don’t know too much about the NFL, but from what I’ve seen, after every effort you have, you’ve got quite a lot of recovery time. You just don’t get that in sevens, or rugby league even,” he said.
“But his speed and explosive power is probably better now than what we know and have seen of him in Australia. Add a bit of cardio to that and I’m really looking forward to seeing him one on one with a guy.”