Jarryd Hayne has given his strongest indication yet that he will play for Fiji at the Rugby League World Cup at the end of the year giving the Bati a major boost to their prospects of featuring in the knockout stage.
The Titans fullback made a return to the New South Wales team for the first time in three years during the recent Origin series and has been having a greater influence at club level in the past two months, but believes the depth available to Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga will make it hard for him to force his way into the squad.
In the past Hayne has credited the experience with the Fijian team at the 2008 World Cup for his breakout season with the Eels in 2009 and after playing for Australia in 2013 is open to adding to his four Tests for Fiji later in the year.
"It's definitely something that I look forward to. It's been great for me to play for Australia and Fiji, it's been awesome," Hayne said of his previous World Cup appearances where he has scored 12 tries in nine previous World Cup games.
"Australia has got a ton of talent, a lot of guys younger than me. It's obviously up to the coach but for me I'm probably looking forward to playing with Fiji at the moment, knowing how much talent and depth Australia's got."
Drawn to play against the USA, Wales and Italy in the group stages in matches to be played in Townsville (two) and Canberra the Fiji team will be favoured to finish top of Pool D and set up a quarter-final clash with the team that runs second in Pool B that includes New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and Scotland.
Fiji were beaten by Tonga in the Pacific Test in May this year but the inclusion of Hayne and the likes of the Saifiti boys from Newcastle, Korbin and Tariq Sims, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Kane Evans will give the Bati a formidable look to them.
Of course, Hayne famously tried to earn selection in the Fiji Rugby Sevens team that won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and after his previous stint in the NFL believes his body is now getting back to what it needs to play rugby league at the highest level.
"I think I'm almost there," said Hayne, who has scored three tries and had two try assists in his past four games for the Titans.
"You definitely do notice it, the way you move and the way you get into games and get into the flow of games and as the season has progressed and the more I've played the better I've felt out there, the more I've been able to have a bit more of an input into the game."
This article first appeared on NRL.com