NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne will promote the game’s chief rival in rugby union at a junior clinic in Fiji this week, just two months after signing a multi-million dollar deal to return to the 13-man code.
The Gold Coast fullback will join former Wallaby George Gregan and a number of Fiji Rugby Sevens Olympic champions at a clinic as part of the Fiji International golf tournament.
Hayne is there as an ambassador for Fiji Airways, having signed with the company when he quit the NFL to make a last-ditch attempt at playing in the Olympics with Fiji’s sevens team.
“Hayne’s own skills will also be on display in Fiji as he joins fellow Aussie rugby legend George Gregan and Fiji 7’s players in hosting a junior rugby clinic at the Fiji International,” a release from the Australian PGA read last week.
His appearance at the event has been given the green light by the Titans, who have told AAP the promotion is part of a sponsorship arrangement which pre-dates his contract with the NRL, which was signed in August.
Chief executive Graham Annesley, a former chief operating officer at the NRL, also pointed out Hayne was not participating in any matches while in Fiji.
A spokesman for the game’s governing body also indicated the NRL had little concern over his promotion of the 15-man game, and was prepared to leave the matter in the Titans’ hands.
In 2012 the NRL stopped former Australian hooker Danny Buderus fast-tracking his coaching career, blocking him from joining the ACT-based Brumbies as a consultant while he was in the final year of his contract with Newcastle.
Junior Paulo also earned the ire of Parramatta officials earlier this year when he turned out in a third-grade rugby union match for Oatley. That matter was left with the Eels.
Hayne is one of the game’s most marketable stars, both in Fiji and in Australia.
The rugby-mad Pacific nation has recently become a hotbed for NRL talent with the likes of Melbourne’s grand final wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Marika Koroibete making their names in the 13-man game.
Koroibete will depart the NRL for Super Rugby after Sunday’s loss.
Hayne will also participate in the Fijian Pro-Am charity golf tournament as part of his trip.