Rugby League World Cup: Fiji’s Jarryd Hayne back at home in black and white | Gavin Willacy

The code and country hopping star talks growing the game internationally, and crossovers between NFL and rugby league

When the few members of the press who attended the low-profile Fiji v United States game in Townsville last Saturday night heard singing bellowing out from the Bati dressing room, most scrambled for the entrance. Remarkably, we were allowed in to film a joyous celebration of victory for the team; a eulogistic pronouncement of God triumphing over the Devil. “The devil is da loser, man” was the catchy refrain. At the far end of the dressing room, one grinning player kept singing but stopped clapping so he could grab his phone and film the scene. He wasn’t going to forget this moment in a hurry.

These scenes epitomise what playing for Fiji means to cross-code star Jarryd Hayne. “It’s very different than playing club footy,” Hayne told the Guardian after directing the Bati to a handsome 58-12 win over the outclassed Americans. “You go back to Fiji and see family and friends there and learn more about your culture every time. It’s always special, like a breath of fresh air, getting that different look at rugby league and seeing how far it’s come in the world, seeing how important it is to those people. It’s a huge part of growing our game far and wide.”

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