Australian rugby league champion Hayne makes 49ers' final roster

Sat Sep 5, 2015 5:06pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Australian rugby league champion Jarryd Hayne is set to realize his dream of playing in the National Football League after making the San Francisco 49ers final roster on Saturday.

Hayne earned a spot on the 53-player squad after impressive pre-season performances for the 49ers.

"IT ALWAYS WORKS OUT! I thank GOD for WHAT HE has done and going to do on this incredible journey!!" Hayne tweeted after the news was announced.

Last October, Hayne rejected a lucrative five-year contract extension with the Parramatta Eels in the (Australian) National Rugby League competition.

He twice was named the competition's Player of the Year, the equivalent of the Most Valuable Player.

Instead, the 27-year-old decided to try the difficult switch to NFL, a transition that very few have made successfully.

He was the second leading rusher in the pre-season. His 175 yards on the ground were only eight shy of leader Zach Zenner of the Detroit Lions. Hayne also was third among punt returners with 163 yards on 10 punts fielded.

He closed his four-game pre-season in fine fashion against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday with 58 yards on 10 carries. Hayne also caught a pair of passes for 17 yards and raised eyebrows with a 28-yard punt return.

Another highlight was when he steamrolled over Chargers defensive back Lowell Rose at the end of a 12-yard catch in the third quarter.   Continued...

September 3, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne (38) runs with the football against San Diego Chargers defensive back Johnny Lowdermilk (42) during the third quarter in a preseason game at Levi's Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Chargers 14-12.  Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports