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Jarryd Hayne tipped for rugby union move after ARU meetings

JARRYD Hayne’s code hopping skills are set to take yet another turn, with the former NRL/NFL/rugby sevens player holding secret meetings with Australian Rugby Union.

Hayne was busted yesterday meeting up with ARU officials who were keen to get his signature on paper for the New South Wales Waratahs.

ARU boss Bill Pulver confirmed meetings had taken place with the former Parramatta Eel and San Francisco 49er, saying the competition “has had dialogue with Jarryd and discussed the potential opportunities available to him in rugby”.

“We are always open to talking to a player who is genuinely interested in playing the game,” Pulver said.

Sportsbet.com.au promptly slashed his odds from $5 into $4 to play Union next season.

Many players who cross from Rugby League end up in Wallabies colours, but that can’t happen for Hayne, after he played for Fiji in a recent rugby sevens tournament in a failed bid to win Olympic selection.

Tahs coach Daryl Gibson said that would matter little to him.

“He’s a talented player and we’d be interested, everything is depending on our salary cap of course,” Gibson said.

He said he was not sure if the club could afford Hayne without a top-up from the NRL.

“Most of the top 20 or 30 players, I don’t know the absolute numbers, but certainly most of the players are all topped up to some degree,” he said.

“He has commercial value and the ARU would be keen to maximise that and get the best players playing our code.”

Former teammate Israel Folau believes Hayne would do well in rugby union.

“He’s naturally talented to pick up the game,” Folau said.

“I’m here playing (in the Waratahs) – it would be nice to get someone like Jarryd to come and join.

“I think it would be a great boost for the team, no doubt.”

Given the significant barriers to a move to union, the NRL is the place most punters think he will be next year, even though the odds have drifted from $1.15 to $1.22.

“The Waratahs’ push to sign Jarryd Hayne has plenty of punters convinced the cross-code star will be playing rugby next year, but talk of a hefty pay cheque for a return to league has it leading the market,” said Sportsbet’s Ben Bulmer.

But some are bizarrely backing him to make an extraordinary switch to the AFL, like Folau and Karmichael Hunt.

Hayne making the shift to the Australian rules football is paying an unlikely $201, but this hasn’t deterred a quarter of Sportsbet punters from backing him to shun the Steeden in favour of the Sherrin.

“Punters remain as confused about Hayne’s next destination as the man himself, with plenty of money coming in for a switch to AFL and soccer, with two punters even backing him to play professional cricket next at odds of $501,” Bulmer said.

Market: What code next for Jarryd Hayne?

Rugby League ($1.22, out from $1.15)

Rugby Union ($4, in from $5.00)

Rugby 7s ($41, out from $34)

AFL ($201, steady)

Cricket ($501, steady)

Soccer ($501, steady)

Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au

Why have Wests Tigers firmed for the reserves premiership?

Wests Tigers legend Robbie Farah has been unceremoniously banished to reserve grade by coach Jason Taylor, leaving his future in doubt.

And while the 32-year-old champ is just three games shy of 250, he will have to do something special in the twos to win a reprieve.

“I believe we’re going to be better with Robbie not in the team,” Taylor said.

“Which is a tough call because we had moved him to the bench to enhance that cohesion again and I believe that it did that, but I’m comfortable taking that next step now because I believe it’s in the best interests of the team.

“We’ve got too many cooks spoiling the broth in regards to the cohesion of our team.

“This was not an easy decision to make, but I have selected the 17 players that I believe will give the club the best chance of victory against the Dragons.

“Robbie is understandably disappointed, but I have spoken at length with him that he will be given every opportunity to regain his position in the NRL team.”

It’s hard to fathom, given Farah was a walk-up starter in the New South Wales Origin team that only a week ago took out the final game of the series.

Those close to Farah insist that while he is growing tired of the treatment at Wests, the veteran is driven by a desire to finish his career as a one-club man.

The former captain is well and truly on the outer at Balmain, but if there’s one positive, it’s for the reserve grade.

Farah still has the tools to cause one hell of an issue against substandard competition, where it looks he will play for the rest of the season.

Online bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au has cut the Tigers’ NSW Cup price from $9 into $7 as a result of their unwilling addition.

Mounties remain the $2.80 favourites to take out the title ahead of the Illawarra Cutters ($5.50) and Wyong ($6), but Wests now find themselves on the fourth line of betting alongside the Warriors.

“Robbie Farah will run rings around everyone else in the NSW Cup and he’s got some motivation to prove Jason Taylor wrong so it’s bad news for every other club in the competition,” Sportsbet’s Christian Jantzen said.

Intrust Super Premiership NSW outright betting

Mounties ($2.80)

Illawarra Cutters ($5.50)

Wyong Roos ($6)

Wests Tigers ($7, in from $9.00)

New Zealand Warriors ($7)

Newtown Jets ($9)

Penrith Panthers ($17)

North Sydney Bears ($34)

Wentworthville Magpies ($41)

Canterbury Bulldogs ($126)

Manly Sea Eagles ($501)

Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au