Hayne debuts for Fiji in shock defeat

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by Chris Ford

Jarryd Hayne was given three minutes to impress for Fiji in their defeat to England in their opening match at the London Sevens.

Hayne didn’t make a tackle and had just one touch of the ball as the ninth-ranked England side surprised the Olympic Gold Medal favourites 31-10 at Twickenham.

A pass intended for Hayne was intercepted after the full-time siren, with Tom Bowen crossing to extend the margin to 21 points.

Dan Norton was the star for England, crossing for a double, including an exquisite chip and chase to put the hosts out of reach.

Alex Gray and Alex Davis crossed for England's two other first-half tries before Stade Francais winger Waisea Nayacalevu pinched one back for Fiji before the break. 

Masivesi Dakuwaqa gave Fiji hope late on but it wasn't to be as Bowen grabbed the intercept to finish off any potential fightback. Jarryd Hayne touched the ball just once in three minutes of action. Photo: Getty Images

Hayne was all the talk around Twickenham though, with fellow code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams telling Hayne to "work on your fitness" before going on to say Hayne "would be fine".

Nick Cummins was caught up in the hype, in true 'Honey Badger' fashion, with the quip "Old Hayney's not a bad rooster, is he?!".

"He's a special athlete and he'll have quite an impact for the Fijian side, I reckon he'd be good," Cummins said.

While former New Zealand captain Karl Te Nana is more cautious, with such little time for Hayne to make the transition.Hayne has two more Pool B matches to come, against Wales and Australia. Photo: Getty Images

"It's always going to be tough, you try to get involved. He needs some time in the saddle, it's great to see him get on the field at least," Te Nana said.

"The game had been lost by then (the time he got on the field), but now he's got the feel of it, he's into the tournament and hopefully the next game and going forward he'll get more game time."

Fiji will next take on Wales to try and keep their Cup dreams alive, as they push to retain the World Series crown while England play Australia next at 12.10am AEST.

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