Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver has officially closed the door on any chance of Jarryd Hayne playing in Super Rugby next year.
The Waratahs announced earlier this week they would not be offering Hayne a contract and Pulver revealed the code-hopper and his management had made clear to the ARU his preference to remain in NSW – meaning approaches from any other Australian franchises wouldn’t be entertained.
“That bird’s probably flown,” Pulver told Fox Sports News.
“There was an initial dialogue prompted by (Hayne’s management) to see whether there was any opportunity to get into Australian rugby.
“He made it very clear up front his preference was to live in NSW, so we were just responding to the feedback he gave us.
“The Waratahs roster was pretty well full, so I think that opportunity’s gone.”
Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore described Hayne as a “quick fix” and said it was a “watershed” moment for the province that they decided not to go down that path.
Hayne had approached the ARU to discuss the possibility of a switch to the 15-man code, but there have been suspicions in some rugby circles that the former Parramatta Eels star was using them in an attempt to drive up his asking price.
Reports on Thursday suggest Hayne could end up playing rugby after all – for French glamour club Toulon, who are said to be interested in signing the 28-year-old along with Top 14 rivals Clermont and Racing Metro.
“You’re a little concerned when there are media waiting outside a meeting that has been organised by them,” Pulver said.
“I guess that was a little bit of an issue.
“But at the end of the day, there’s a chance he is signing up to play rugby in France.
“Certainly, the conversation I had was there was genuine interest in our game.”
Hayne’s hopes of a big contract offer from the ARU were essentially dashed the moment he ran out for Fiji in the London Sevens earlier this year.
That made him instantly ineligible to represent Australia and to receive Wallaby top-up payments from the ARU that would have supplemented his Super Rugby earnings.
“We wouldn’t stump up any money – he can’t play for the Wallabies, sadly. Four minutes for Fiji in a London event pretty well ruled that out,” Pulver said.