Peter Illfield. Chairman of US Association of Rugby League has welcomed the arrival of former Australia and New South Wales star Jarryd Hayne to the country, after the full back signed for San Francisco 49er’s in the NFL.
“Jarryd, at 27, is one of the most gifted and talented rugby league players in Australia,” lllfield commented. “He has excelled for his club, state and country. He has performed and excited crowds at every level. He is an extraordinary athlete.
Illfield continued, “His three-year deal with the 49er’s, as an expected running back, gives the USA Rugby League a connection with the American football lover like never before.
“Jarryd’s profile and playing ability will bring our sport to the attention of many. It also has the possibility of showing the American college athlete the possibilities of transition and adaptation for them to play rugby league, should they desire.
“Part of our recruitment strategy is aimed at the American football player who has excelled at High School level but just misses out on their College football team in their Freshman year.
“There is no community football for that high-level of athlete. Rugby League is the perfect sport for him and we now have Jarryd as a first-hand role model.”
Illfield extended an open invitation to Hayne to be a guest of honour at any of the USARL fixtures in their 14-club competition over the coming summer, should he have time in his schedule.
He added, “We are looking at every source for increasing performance outcomes for the USA national team leading up to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.”