NFL-Hayne a step closer to NFL dream after making 49ers' cut

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Sept 1 (Reuters) - Australian rugby league international Jarryd Hayne came a step closer to realising his NFL dream on Monday when he survived the latest round of cuts at the San Francisco 49ers. The 27-year-old's bid to build a career in the elite American football league has electrified the 49ers' pre-season and captivated his home nation, where he was one of the most talented and highly-paid players in the National Rugby League. Hayne, who has made the 75-man cut, will find out on Saturday whether he has made the final 53-man squad but many pundits believe he has already shown enough in three pre-season appearances to earn his place. Prior to the cut, coach Jim Tomsula gave a glowing endorsement of Hayne, who has had a number of impressive carries at running back. "I'm pretty confident in Jarryd's ability to field the ball. I've watched a tonne of tape on this guy fielding a rugby ball," Tomsula told U.S. media. "I've seen him field here at practice. I've seen him field in game situations. "I feel very good about his abilities to field. I feel very good about his abilities to perform with a ball in his hands on special teams. "The coverage parts of it? I've seen a lot of improvement there. The guy will fly down the field in those areas. "So, all of those things I've seen what I need to see. I think it's been a great evaluation on him." In an apparent vote of confidence from the 49ers' merchandising department, Hayne's number 38 jersey is now being sold off the rack in the team's main store at their home Levi's Stadium, Australian media reported. However, a glance at the photos of the 75 men bidding to make the final cut on the team's website (49ers.com) shows the Australian is still very much an anomaly. Where his prospective team mates are all snapped in action or in the 49ers uniform, Hayne's photo shows him wearing a suit and donning the team cap at the media event in March where he announced San Francisco had offered him a deal as an undrafted free agent. His progress has been closely followed by Australia's top athletes, who have bombarded his Twitter account with well-wishes. Australia's national rugby union team are in the United States preparing for a World Cup warmup match against the U.S. Eagles and extended an invite to Hayne to head over to Chicago to watch the game on Saturday. "Love to. Busy chasing dreams tho lol. All the best in the World Cup," Hayne tweeted. (Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)