Hard yards to go ahead of Rio for Fijian code hopper
THE barrage of negative publicity when Jarryd Hayne chose to join the Fiji team for the London leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series was not a surprise. Among the most venomous critics of Australian sportspeople are their media and sportspeople themselves. The negative publicity started immediately with claims that Hayne would not qualify because of a limited standdown window, the need for special drug tests, and his inability to transition to a new code.
Perhaps the most cruel blow of all was that Hayne did not qualify for the Fijian side because he was an Australian. Hayne’s father, Manoa Thompson, moved to Australia aged 11 and played for South Sydney (Rabbitohs) and Auckland (Warriors) at various stages of what is now the National Rugby League. Manoa was adopted by Ana Waqanibaravi Thompson, sister to his birth mother, Elenoa Tokalautawa, who died when he was young.
The hard-hitting centre who represented Fiji in 1996 told the Daily Telegraph his son would prove critics wrong. “Keep bagging my boy and you will have egg on your face,” he said.
“They wrote Jarryd off when he went to the NFL. And he made it. They wrote him after he was (NRL) rookie of the year as well.
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