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Fiji at heart

Rosalie Willis
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Australian-born Fiji Bati star Jarryd Hayne may have a strong Australian accent but he is passionate about playing for Fiji. Representing his Father's country of birth.

Hayne has been in camp for only twenty-four hours in preparation for the tri-nations tournament.

Manoa Thompson Hayne's father moved to Australia when he was 11 years old, and also represented Fiji in 1996. For Hayne, it was not the influence of his father that birthed a desire to play for Fiji but rather a desire to represent who he is.

"You just want to represent who you are, I'm half Fijian so it's not that hard."

While living and making his life in Australia, playing for the Fiji Bati is one way he can connect with his roots. "It's always a great opportunity playing for Fiji," Hayne said at the Vodafone photoshoot yesterday. Having last represented Fiji nine years ago in 2008, Hayne joined the Fiji camp on Sunday with the rest of the overseas players. "I had a great campaign in 2008 and I'm looking forward to this campaign. I'm blessed to be a part of it."

The team have three sessions this week with the main focus being on tactics as the world cup squad comes together for the first time. "We won't worry what they do, we're in our own back yard. We just plan for ourselves and aim to get what we want to do right."

With seven members of the premiership-winning Melbourne Storm team, Australia have the most experienced outfit but Hayne sees it as an opportunity. "We're using this trial to lean off the great ones."

Being in a professional environment is bread and butter for Hayne however for Etuate Bola, Pio Seci and Kelepi Komaisavou the three local players, this next week will be crucial. "For me it's about helping them out, making them feel comfortable with what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve."

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