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The Rugby World Cup won't be an option for Jarryd Hayne if failed negotiations with Parramatta and St George Illawarra prompt a switch to the 15-man code.
Frustrated that the Eels can't afford to table him an offer reflecting his market worth, Hayne is expected to meet with the Dragons officials about potential opportunities at the Red V. A fallback option is a switch to rugby, raising the prospect of him representing Fiji at next year's World Cup.
However Stuff understands Fijian powerbrokers have no interest in considering the cross-code star for their squad. There's a belief that Hayne has left a code switch too late and that rugby is being used a bargaining chip to raise his price tag in the NRL.
Hayne unsuccessfully attempted to break into the Fijian Sevens side before the last Olympics but didn't leave himself enough time to press his case.
While there have been suggestions Hayne could chase the riches on offer in European rugby, the French competition has already started, meaning he could only earn a 'medical joker' contract as an injury replacement.
The Eels have about $200,000 left in their salary cap for next season, about $500,000 short of what Hayne is asking. The 33-year-old already took a $500,000 paycut to return to the club after leaving the Titans and the NRL is unlikely to register him for anything below his market worth, which is likely to be no less than $400,000.
The blue and golds are hoping to offload Michael Jennings, on a deal worth about $750,000 in 2019, to Newcastle. However, the Knights' pursuit of Bulldog David Klemmer will eat up the majority of their available funds. Should the Knights be able to offload centre Nathan Ross, it will free up additional funds to throw at Jennings.
The Eels have two spots free in their top squad in the hope they can somehow accommodate Hayne, while hooker Reed Mahoney will also likely earn a top-30 contract.
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS
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