Jarryd Hayne selected in London Sevens

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by Beth Newman

Set your alarms, Australia - Jarryd Hayne will likely face the Aussie Sevens in London at 2:54am AEST on Sunday morning, after being picked for Fiji in the London Sevens.

Fiji coach Ben Ryan named his final 12-man squad for the tournament on Friday night, with cross-code star Hayne one of three inclusions in the team

The former Parramatta Eels fullback was not named in the official team list lodged 24 hours before the tournament but late injury replacements are able to be named after the deadline, as long as they are cleared by the tournament doctor, which he has been.

The Pacific Island side opens its London account against England at 9:04pm AEST at Twickenham on Saturday.

The inclusion of the former NRL and NFL player gives Hayne his only chance to test himself against international opposition before August's Rio Olympics.

Hayne said it would be a dream come true to play for the Fiji Sevens, a team he grew up admiring. 

"I think with the Olympics coming up, and also the curiosity to playing the game, being half Fijian it (rugby sevens) is something I've followed since I was a kid," said Hayne.

"My Dad is Fijian and we watched a lot of Serevi games, and William Ryder was a big idol of mine. I have always dreamt about playing sevens for Fiji and I've been given the opportunity.

"It is a team that plays with a lot of spirit and a lot of faith. You don't really see that in teams around the globe. I've played for many different teams at the highest level and Fiji is a special nation and a special country to play for."

The 28-year-old will have all eyes on him when he lines up in London, his first crack at the Sevens code. 

Ausrtalia will have the chance to play against Hayne this weekend, with the Aussies meeting Fiji in the pool stages in London.

London is the final leg of the World Series tour, with Fiji in an almost unassailable spot at the top of the leaderboard.

Aussie Sevens' Jesse Parahi, who has just returned from a stint with NRL side Wests Tigers, said earlier on Friday that Hayne might struggle with the endurance needed in Sevens after spending 18 months in the power-based NFL.

“It’s a credit to the game, we’ve been able to draw in these big stars from NFL and NRL, it just shows the direction the game’s heading,” he said.

“As far as him coming back here I think he’s going to struggle fitness wise.

“He’s an amazing athlete and skill-set wise he’s going to be right up there, but coming from a game that is about short and powerful bursts into one that’s heavily aerobic and needs endurance will be tough, with the short amount of time he’s left himself.”

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