Hayne wants to take Pacific Test to US

By Scott Bailey, Scott Bailey is a Roar Guru

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15 Have your say

    Jarryd Hayne has called for a Pacific Test to be taken to the United States, arguing it would attract a bigger crowd in his once-adopted home than the clash between England and New Zealand will.

    Hayne is desperate for Fiji to take a more prominent spot on the international calendar, as he prepares for Saturday’s annual Pacific Tests at a packed Campbelltown Sports Stadium with Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Samoa.

    The matches come on the same weekend as New Zealand and England’s controversial Denver Test, with the event’s promoters trying to push the sport in America ahead of their 2025 rugby league World Cup.

    But Hayne, who was recognised by many expat Pacific Islanders while living in San Francisco during his NFL stint, said the best way to build traction would be to take Fiji, Samoa or Tonga across.

    “I think the biggest untapped market is America,” Hayne told AAP.

    “I know they are having the England and New Zealand Test over there, but I just think if you want to pull a big crowd you need to get some of the smaller nations.

    “There are so many Pacific Islanders there who absolutely love the Islands. They are so passionate about it because over there it’s all about America.

    “So when you get your own thing people go above and beyond to represent it.

    “I definitely believe that Tonga or Samoa would be bigger over in America than Australia or New Zealand.”

    Hayne’s comments come after the success of last year’s World Cup, with talk of a Tongan Test against Australia later this year also being floated.

    Both Fiji and Tonga beat the Kiwis en route to the semi-finals of last year’s tournament, while the fourth edition of the Pacific Tests in 2017 sold out after it also featured England.

    “Every year has got better and better,” Hayne said.

    “Last year they put England there as one of the big three and now we’ve got our own standalone weekend with Samoa and Tonga as the No.1 game. I think that’s huge.”

    But Hayne is desperate to get to the point where it can be financially viable for the teams to play more than just once per year and outside the middle of the season .

    “If there is an Australian tour, an England tour and a New Zealand end-of-year tour, why can’t there be a Fijian tour, a Tongan tour or a Samoan tour?” Hayne asked.

    “Speaking to (NRL Pacific strategy manager) Franky (Puletua) a couple of weeks ago, we’re almost on par to break even with the Pacific Tests, which is a huge thing.

    “Because we don’t have many major sponsors … obviously the NRL is the big booster of making it all happen.

    “But if we can get to the point where we can tell a sponsor year by year, with naming rights and all that kind of stuff, I think it can be huge.”

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • June 19th 2018 @ 3:52pm
      Mumbo said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

      Try explaining to US audience a different kind of Rugby than that of Olympic champions Fiji where most of the players weren’t born in the countries they are representing.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 8:27pm
        The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

        “MOST of the players weren’t born in the countries they are representing” Most???
        Care to back that up with proof?

      • June 19th 2018 @ 8:29pm
        Peter said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

        So are you saying that any league player can only represent the country in which he or she was born, and that is the only consideration.
        So tell me about the Australian-citizen hottest halfback in 20 years, born to diplomatic-service parents in Mexico City. Stiff bikkies, play for Mexico? Oh, and their first ever league game was in Canada? Guess no NSW run-on for them either?

        • June 20th 2018 @ 2:14pm
          Mumbo said | June 20th 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

          Last year the numbers in the Pacific tests showed most were of islander heritage rather than having been born there. Of course the primary school knee jerk reaction (pun intended) was that birthplace is the only consideration – no it just happens nearly all the best players are heritage players and certainly haven’t been residents there for many years if at all. The Tongan/Samoan residents team played in Auckland last week

          • June 20th 2018 @ 8:49pm
            Peter said | June 20th 2018 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

            Ah, so now you’re saying it’s just an interesting observation and you don’t care if players weren’t born in the country they represent. So why bring it up as an issue in the first place?

          • Roar Guru

            June 20th 2018 @ 10:03pm
            The Saint said | June 20th 2018 @ 10:03pm | ! Report

            Show me the names and stats of Pacific players’ birthplaces Mumbo

    • June 19th 2018 @ 5:03pm
      Big daddy said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

      Pick me for Fiji but I don’t want to play for my country at home or in Australia.
      What a fool , he just wants to get his face in front of American crowds to show them what a great league player he is.
      Total utter waste of space this guy.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 8:34pm
        Peter said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

        OK, we get you don’t like that Hayne. That’s been obvious for years. Hurray for you for consistency.
        But exactly what, if anything, does your post have to do with the suggestion he is making about the attractiveness of various national teams to audiences in America?
        Nothing? Well, there you go.

    • June 20th 2018 @ 9:42am
      Sammy said | June 20th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      The Americans know Rugby (League or Union) to be a Gladiator sport, similar to Grid Iron but without padding.

      They also see England as a country of scholars and lords where people play cricket, shoot pigeons, ride horses, drink tea and eat yorkshire puddings.

      A Rugby League contest involving the Pacific Island Nations would generate more interest in the USA.

      There are alot of Islanders living on the West Coast – it is through these immigrants that Rugby League can be introduced to the broader American population.

    • June 20th 2018 @ 2:07pm
      simon said | June 20th 2018 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

      He’s right.
      There are substantially more islanders living in the US then there are English and New Zealanders. A pacific test would also offer a more attractive style of game that would be a lot easier to enjoy than England vs a half strength New Zealand. America is a very large and untapped market that is full of potential and get a very passionate game of Samoa v Tonga, advertise it effectively, build the hype, it could be big. As much as I don’t like Jarryd Hayne, he makes a very good point and I think that the NRL have seriously missed out here.

      • June 20th 2018 @ 2:16pm
        Mumbo said | June 20th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

        Obviously concussion is a big issue in the US at the moment and you want to introduce a game without padding where players run into each other at high speed. Not a good idea.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 7:43am
          Justin Kearney said | June 21st 2018 @ 7:43am | ! Report

          So the 500000 rugby players in the USA running around without padding should stop playing immediately mumbo?

      • June 20th 2018 @ 3:00pm
        Greg said | June 20th 2018 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

        Substantially more islanders living in the US? The population of Samoa is around 200,000, Tonga has just over 100,000, and Fiji has around 900,000 people. There’s more people living in Adelaide than those three countries combined. England has 53 million, there’s a heap more English living in the US the all of the Pacific Islands combined without even adding in the Kiwis.

        • Roar Guru

          June 20th 2018 @ 3:04pm
          BA Sports said | June 20th 2018 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

          To support Greg; What are you talking about “substantially more islanders living in the US then there are English and New Zealanders”??!! I will give you there are not many NZ’ers but English?! There are around 700,000 English immigrants living in the US. That is about 7 times more than Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and NZ combined!

        • Roar Guru

          June 20th 2018 @ 10:19pm
          The Saint said | June 20th 2018 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

          Greg, according to NZ cencus stats there are about half a million people who list themselves as English living in NZ and only 40,000 Tongans.
          I was at the Eng-Tonga semifinal World Cup last year in Auckland. I saw a couple of hundred Eng supporters..the rest were Tongans all dressed in red.
          Samoan, Tongans and Fijians are evidently very passionate about their union and league teams..wherever they are.
          Haynes’ view is the Pacific population in the US will be more passionate and turn up to the games than expatriate English folk.
          In my view, its worthwhile trying it out, at least, in the US market.

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