Hayne’s Olympic dream over

Date published: July 11 2016

Code-hopper Jarryd Hayne's Olympic dream has ended after he was dropped from Fiji's Sevens training squad for the final week of selection.

Hayne quit the NFL earlier this year in a bid to make Fiji's squad for next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and played for the 2015/16 World Rugby Sevens Series champions at the London Sevens in May.

But the 28-year-old announced on Facebook on Monday that Fiji Sevens head coach Ben Ryan told him last week that he had not made the cut for the Olympics.

"Last Friday I had a meeting with Ben to discuss my future with the team and I was informed that my time has ended," Hayne wrote.

"As much as I would have loved to go to Rio, I too knew I wasn't ready yet."

Hayne said he had given his all in a bid to make the squad.

"During my time with the team, I pushed my body above and beyond," he added.

"I used all my experience as a professional athlete and have tried everyday and in every way possible to make this team and make it better but unfortunately, time has been against me.

"I've loved every minute of training with the Fiji Rugby 7's. Not only are they back to back world champions but they are a bunch of guys who have welcomed me into the team as one of their own family.

"It was hard to comprehend and understand at first why I came here? Why God put me here, but deep down I knew there was a reason and a purpose. God takes you places not so you can achieve what you set out for, but to play a part and help something greater than yourself.

"This has been an amazing journey for me and a truly humbling experience. I have learnt so much and will never forget my time with this team.

"I want to thank Ben and the entire coaching staff, the players and especially the fans. The support of the Fijian fans and fans around the world over the past few months has been incredible. I am mesmerised at the love and passion people have for the 7's".
The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) confirmed the news via a press statement on their official website.

According to the statement, FRU chief executive John Masi O'Connor confirmed that Fiji Sevens coach, Ben Ryan and Hayne met at the end of last week’s training camp and had both decided that his journey towards Rio had come to an end.

Ryan highlighted that: "On Friday, Jarryd and I sat down for an end of camp week talk and decided that his journey towards Rio had come to an end. I explained that he has had a quite amazing few weeks and committed 100 percen to the programme. 

"It’s been the most physically and mentally draining “stress cycle” I have put a Fijian squad through and not once has he shirked putting in the effort.”

"At the start of his journey with the team I explained a few things to him. I could see immediately that he had a very good skill set and his fundamental skills were excellent and personally I just love his attitude to life."

Ryan stated that one of the biggest hurdles for Hayne was the timeframe, but he had contributed hugely to the squad’s attitude.

"The biggest hurdle for him was the timeframe," he added.

"It was a very short runway for him to get to the fitness levels and understanding needed and go past any of our current squad members.

"Knowing that, we both also felt it was worth giving it a crack and seeing how far he could go. 

"He also added hugely to the squad with his attitude off and on the field and I have no doubt this has improved everyone’s performance levels and helped the team in their pursuit of Olympic success.

"The camp has an excellent environment and Hayne definitely added to it."

The team to Rio will be announced on Saturday, July 16 and Ryan says that after much consideration he knew that Hayne would not have had enough time to prove himself to make the selection.

"With a week to go to selection, I could see that he was not going to have enough time remaining to make the cut," he explained.

"I didn’t want to push him so far that I caused injury and also had no intention of putting him through another huge week when I had already decided upon his selection.

"As I expected, his reaction to all this was gold standard. A few more weeks and his selection decision may well have been different. If he decides to stay in Union then I have no doubt he will make a world class centre or full back. 

"I’d recommend him highly to any organisation.

"The clearest signpost of the sort of bloke he is was the reaction from the rest of the squad when they found out he was leaving. 

"He has made an indelible impression on all of them and the management. No rock star attitude. No demanding behaviour. The quote I have plagiarised from the wall of the New York Giants sums him up; Blame nobody. Expect nothing. Do something."

O’Connor also commended Hayne for having the courage and taking on the challenge to fight for a spot to represent Fiji in the Olympics.