Fijian born Rugby League legend Petero Civoniceva says Jarryd Hayne can make a success of his switch to Rugby Sevens, as part of the Island nation’s Rio Olympic bid.
The sport will make its first appearance at an Olympic games in August and Hayne has turned his back on a fledgling NFL career to chase gold.
The move has had its critics, but Civoniceva told NITV’s League Nation Live he isn’t one of them.
“I think after all the successes he had in that first year, we were all excited to see him go into the second season.
“It’s a big call no doubt, but I think if anyone can do it, I think Jarryd can”, said Civoniceva.
After a glittering career that has seen Hayne represent Australia, Fiji and New South Wales, as well as being crowned Dally M winner on two occasions, Civoniceva says Olympic gold would be on another level.
“All the Fijian supporters would be very excited to think that someone like Jarryd Hayne could be wearing the Flying Fijians jersey in the 7’s competition at the Rio Olympics, they are one of the favourites.
“What a personal milestone that would be on top of everything he’s achieved in Rugby League and going over to NFL. To cap it all off with a potential Olympic gold that would be definitely a highlight.”
Some reports suggest Hayne will return to the NRL should he fail to break into the Fijian 7’s Olympic squad, even perhaps in time for the final two State of Origin matches.
It’s another reason why Civoniceva is backing Hayne.
“No doubt, any NRL coach would love the services of Jarryd Hayne, especially at State of Origin level that’s for sure. But as a Queenslander I hope he goes well in Rugby," said Civoniceva.
But whilst Civoniceva was supportive of Hayne’s move, League Nation Live panellist Justin Hodges did have some concerns.
“I think it’s a big risk", said Hodges.
“What he’s done over there in the United States was unbelievable, but I think this next step is going to be very challenging.
“I love watching 7’s and it’s not as easy as people think. It’s not just picking up the ball and running down the sideline.
“Good luck to him but I think it’s a big risk”, said Hodges.