SUVA, 16 JUNE 2016 (FIJI TIMES) – While he has that ability to create a media circus, Jarryd Hayne has also been able to win the respect of Vodafone 7s coach Ben Ryan.
Ryan said he had told Hayne that he had a slim chance of making it to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games but Hayne had replied with a “I’m going to prove him wrong” attitude.
Eight weeks from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Hayne has taken a lot of gambles including an NFL career to join a team of champions to play a game he has hardly or perhaps never played.
Though, at the London 7s with his fitness level well below those of his fellow players, Hayne did not and still has not given up on that Olympic dream.
“He has, as I’ve told him, a slim chance really of selection —— but he has got a ‘I’m going to prove him wrong attitude’ and I like that.
“All he can do is get his head down, work as hard as he can session to session, get fitter.
“I am really pleased with his attitude and just the way he integrates with the boys, it’s been great.”
As the race for that first ever sevens Olympic gold heats up, Ryan has announced that he will drop players at any time over the next three weeks. Players are being monitored for their performances on and off the field even.
Meanwhile, Fiji 7s players in the 2016 Rio Olympics squad are literally on their toes as coach Ben Ryan warns them that he will drop a player if he needs to in the next three weeks.
Ryan will announce his 13-man team to Rio four weeks from now.
“Eight weeks from today is our first game. I said to the boys at any point, they might get a tap on their shoulder and told “your journey is finished”.
“They know that. I’m not just going to make that decision then, I could be making them today, tomorrow, tonight.
“I could have a conversation with any of the players that I don’t think they are not going to make the grade. I’ll tell them and then we’ll move them out of camp.
“I want to keep the pressure on them.”
Carrying more pounds than Ryan would like and less fitter than what we had seen in the world sevens series, Ryan has put an ultimatum —— a 22 on the yoyo or fitness test for the flyers, rovers and wingers. An exception would be for the giants such as Pio Tuwai, Viliame Mata and Leone Nakarawa who however would need to hit 18 or 19 and if they do, it would be the fittest they have ever been in their rugby careers.
“..If I look to the scores now, there was no one near 22 on Monday. I wouldn’t expect that,” Ryan said.
However, he expects his players to gradually improve their fitness levels.
“You know these guys have got to keep getting better and better and better. And if they do it bit by bit over the next four weeks, they will get themselves in a good position. If they don’t, if they don’t look after themselves, they will fall behind and when they fall behind, they fall off. They won’t get selected,” Ryan said.
Missing from Wednesday’s training session were Pio Tuwai and Isake Katonibau who went for medical check-up.
Semi Kunatani is expected to join the team on Monday and is en route home from France. If Toulon does make it to the final after their game this weekend, then we would not be seeing Josua Tuisova until after next week.
However, Ryan will give him another week break so the “Beast of Paris” will have about a week to prove himself worthy of a plane ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Samisoni Viriviri, Leone Nakarawa and Waisea Nayacalevu are expected to also join the team from Monday after their commitments with the Vodafone National XVs.