Jarryd Hayne has been pitched a potentially lucrative rugby union scenario involving Super Rugby and the Japanese competition, but the ARU is adamant it won’t be contributing financially to any deal.
Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver has held talks with Hayne and his manager Wayne Beavis this week in Sydney.
The former Parramatta NRL and San Francisco NFL player has yet to decide which code and side he will play for in 2017, following his unsuccessful attempt to make Fiji’s Olympic sevens rugby squad.
Representing Fiji in the final leg of the World Series sevens tournament rendered Hayne ineligible to play for the Wallabies and an ARU financial top-up.
Pulver expressed interest in having Hayne come across to the 15-a-side game and was enthusiastic about his abilities, but ruled out the ARU having any financial input.
He made it clear the ARU would not look outside the top-up or establish a precedent by finding some other method of paying Hayne.
The ARU would, however, have to sign off on any contract Hayne agreed on with a Super Rugby franchise.
Pulver said he had the feeling Hayne was genuinely interested in playing rugby rather than using their discussions as leverage to force a bigger deal with a NRL club.
He said he had spoken to Hayne and Beavis about the possibility of the talented athlete signing a deal allowing him to play for an Australian Super side and a Japanese team.
Pulver felt that would be more practical for Hayne than switching between Australia and Europe, where the season overlapped with the Super Rugby schedule.
NSW Waratahs’ five-eighth Bernard Foley has already played back-to-back seasons in Australia and Japan, while two other leading Wallabies, flanker David Pocock and fullback Israel Folau, have similar agreements locked in for the future.
The ARU boss said a multiple-season deal combining Super and Japanese rugby would be a pretty lucrative option for Hayne.
He said they would have more discussions and he expected Hayne to make a decision in the next few months.
Hayne has been linked to the Waratahs, although a NSW Rugby Union spokesperson said on Thursday Hayne had not yet held any talks with their organisation.
The Waratahs are believed to be more concerned about whether Hayne would be a good fit for them as opposed to his asking price.
NSW coach Daryl Gibson and senior players, including Folau and fellow Wallaby Dean Mumm, have all said in recent weeks they would be interested in Hayne joining their franchise.
Pulver confirmed five-eighth Quade Cooper and the ARU had reached a three-year heads of agreement for the former Wallaby No.10 to return to Australia following his stint with French club Toulon.
He said a formal deal with Cooper would be signed once the pivot decided which team he wanted to play for.
Cooper’s former side the Queensland Reds and the Melbourne Rebels are believed to be the main candidates, with Pulver delighted to have the talented playmaker back in the Australian fold.