Former Eels player Jarryd Hayne.
Former Eels player Jarryd Hayne. PAUL MILLER

Spanner in the works for Jarryd Hayne

The Jarryd Hayne soap opera has taken another bizarre twist with the former NRL star left out of Fiji’s initial sevens squad for this weekend’s round of the world series in London.

While that doesn’t mean he won’t get an opportunity to show what he could do, with the final squad not required to be named until tomorrow, it does raise serious questions.

Hayne stunned the sporting world earlier this week when he announced he was quitting the San Francisco 49ers franchise in the NFL to chase his latest dream of playing sevens rugby for Fiji at the Rio Olympics.

He even flew straight to London to link up with the Fijian squad ahead of this weekend’s final round of the 2015-16 world series, declaring he had confidence in his ability to achieve his Olympics goal despite the incrediby short timeframe.

“I have confidence in myself,” he said. “I know how to run, I know how to pass, I go all right.”

That confidence wasn’t completely shared by Fijian coach Ben Ryan, however, who insisted he had given Hayne no guarantees about being given a spot at the Olympics, or even for this weekend’s tournament.

He backed up that uncertainty yesterday by leaving the former Parramatta Eel out of his 12-man squad.

Just where that leaves Hayne now is unclear.

Theoretically he could still return to the 49ers, where new coach Chip Kelly said he had been shocked when told Hayne was leaving despite speculation he had jumped before being pushed.

He told reporters he hadn’t spoken to the Australian about coming back if his sevens flirtation didn’t pan out.

“We didn’t even talk about that,” Kelly said. “He met with (49ers general manager) Trent (Baalke) first and came down and explained what he wanted to do – that he was going to play for Fiji in the rugby sevens.

“Yeah, I was surprised. I had no idea.”

While Kelly only joined the franchise from Philadelphia earlier this year, he said he had been very impressed with what he had seen.

“He’s a really sharp learner,” Kelly said.

“We were excited. He’s a big body and has a skill set.”

Speculation will no doubt now switch to a potential return to the NRL, with several clubs confirming they would be interested in signing the former New South Wales and Australian star.

While the Roosters have long been regarded as the frontrunners to secure his signature considering Parramatta’s salary cap issues, the Dragons, Titans, West Tigers and Newcastle have all put their hands up.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor said he was a big fan. “If he was on the market we would like to be in the mix,” he said.

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