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Hayne hones skills

Kameli Rakoko
Friday, November 10, 2017

JARRYD Hayne may be disregarded by die-hard rugby league men because of his code hopping history, but the tough Vodafone Fiji Bati stand-off could be trying to prove a point or two by showing skills that he has learned from his experience in the gridiron and rugby union.

Usually a fullback for Parramatta Eels and the Fiji Bati in 2009, Hayne, for his current club made a switch to the five-eighth (number 6) jersey where he is showing some fantastic skills in creating play for his backline by setting up tries as a pivot.

His passing from left to right has improved tremendously and resulted in setting up a well-executed try against Wales in Townsville by just delaying the pass momentarily to keep the opposition guessing before making that long pass to set centre Taane Milne through the gap.

After failing to make the Olympic Fiji Sevens team in 2016, Hayne returned to rugby league and was testing his new-found skills in this position, but in one attacking run in the NRL he attempted a long pass that sailed over the wing into touch. His performance against Wales last week and USA the week before has been sublime and showed that he has put in the hard work to hone his passing skills to a fine art.

Hayne has through the years fulfilled the fullback role, who are usually required to be cool under the high balls and in defence their primary role is the last line of defence, standing behind the main line of defenders.

He has defensively chased and tackled players who break the first line of defence and caught and returned kicks made by the attacking side.

With all that skills in his pocket developing his game as a pivot makes him an important member of the Fiji Bati that will prove crucial in the later stages of the tournament.

Like Waisale Serevi in rugby union he will be the field general and have at his service foot soldiers in rampaging runners like Suliasi Vunivalu, Akuila Uate, Milne, Marcelo Montoya and even the bullocking runner prop Viliame Kikau.

So far Hayne has scored two tries, one each against USA and Wales and his combination with the number 7 jersey Henry Raiwalui will be the operation room from where match-winning moves will be hatched.

Italy struggled against Ireland and will try to cancel that upset loss by beating Fiji tonight.

The class of rugby talents displayed by our Fiji Bati and professionalism by players in the past two RLWC games places them among the top four favourites in the 2017 RLWC title.

The Welsh rugby league coach's pre-match comments before the Fiji Bati clash should go down as the quote of the year.

He said something to this effect, The Fijians play smart rugby and I don't think they will be as physical as the PNG players.

We will be physical against them and see how they can handle it, the Welshmen said. We can only blame the PNG heat having had perhaps a "climate change" effect on him and anyway we thank him for motivating our boys to bring out the killer instinct.

The final score of 72-6 said it all.

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