Tight end Chris Coyle in action for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Photo: Christian Petersen Jarryd Hayne has inspired Chris Coyle in his dream of transitioning from the NFL to Super Rugby. Photo: Graham Tidy

The Hayne Plane might not have fully taken off yet in the NFL, but he’s the wind beneath the Super Rugby wings of  ACT Brumbies project Chris Coyle.

Coyle is trying to do almost the reverse of Jarryd Hayne – switching from American football to rugby union, instead of from rugby league to the NFL.

Injuries prevented Coyle from making it in the NFL, where he spent five days with the Houston Texans before he was released due to a shoulder problem.

It was the catalyst for the 24-year-old to code-hop his way Down Under, while the Hayne Plane left Aussie shores to chase his NFL dream.

Coyle has liked what he’s seen of Hayne’s fledgling career, after the former Parramatta Eel made his debut for the San Francisco 49ers last week. He felt if Hayne could keep himself fit then there was no reason why he couldn’t make a go of it.

“If he can secure himself a spot on special teams, which I think he absolutely can because of the type of athlete he is, [he can make it],” Coyle said.

“The biggest thing for him is he’ll have to stay healthy because he’s definitely good enough of an athlete to be there.”

And if Hayne can do it, there’s no reason Coyle can’t make a similarly successful switch to Super Rugby.

He played mostly second grade with the Gungahlin Eagles in the John I Dent Cup this year but managed to force his way into the seniors towards the end of the season.

Coyle is training with National Rugby Championship team Canberra Vikings, where he’s worked closely with Ita Vaea and Wallaby Ben Alexander.

“It is inspiring to see a guy like him go over there and conquer a sport that’s so incredibly difficult for everybody over there [in the US] that’s played their whole lives and he’s gone over there and made it to a professional level,” he said.

“It does give me hope I could pick up rugby and play here some day.

“Physically, I definitely think I can compete with these guys out here at a professional level, it’s just finetuning the mental aspect of the game.”

Vikings coach Brad Harris said Coyle had been training well and had the right work ethic to succeed.

He was unsure whether the former American footballer would break into the Vikings side this NRC season, but he felt there was a chance he could play Super Rugby some day.

“It’s a massive step, even our club boys understand the step to NRC and obviously there’s another significant step up to Super Rugby, but he’s certainly an athlete, he’s certainly in a great program and he’s improving so if he continues on that trajectory then anything is possible,” Harris said.

The undefeated Vikings will play the struggling North Harbour Rays in Sydney on Saturday.


Saturday: Canberra Vikings v North Harbour Rays at Pittwater Rugby Park, 3pm

Vikings team: 1. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Albert Anae, 3. Leslie Leuluai’ali’i-Makin, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Blake Enever, 6. Jordan Smiler, 7. Jarrad Butler (c), 8. Ita Vaea, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Jerome Niumata, 12. Rodney Iona, 13. Nigel Ah Wong, 14. James Dargaville, 15. Aidan Toua. Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Sione Taula, 18. Tyrel Lomax, 19. Dean Oakman-Hunt, 20. Rowan Perry, 21. Brent Hamlin, 22. Isaac Thompson, 23. Francis Fainifo.

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