Ex-49er, Australian rugby star Hayne jailed for sex assault

Sydney (AFP) –


Former Australia rugby league star and San Francisco 49er Jarryd Hayne was Thursday jailed for five years and nine months over the sexual assault of a woman at her home in 2018.

The 33-year-old -- best known outside Australia for a short-lived attempt to break into America's NFL -- was found guilty in March on two counts of intercourse without consent.

He must serve at least three years and eight months before being eligible for parole.

Hayne was sentenced at a court in Newcastle, north of Sydney, after the judge heard the woman describe how the incident had changed her life.

"Yes I am destroyed and damaged but I am still standing," the 26-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said in a victim impact statement.

The pair met on social media and the woman reported that he attacked her at her home in Newcastle on the night of the National Rugby League grand final.

Former Parramatta Eels star Hayne insisted it was consensual, but District Court Judge Helen Syme disagreed.

"The reliability and honesty of the victim's evidence was tested at length and in my view, her reliability was not in doubt. She said no several times," Syme said, according to broadcaster ABC.

The Sydney-born Hayne was the NRL's player of the year in 2009 and 2014, making more than 20 appearances for New South Wales in State of Origin matches, which pit New South Wales against Queensland.

He was capped 12 times by Australia and four by Fiji, where his father comes from, as well as representing Fiji in rugby sevens.

Hayne attempted a career in the NFL in 2015 as a kick returner and running back, but experienced only fleeting success during a tough first season with the San Francisco 49ers.

He played eight times for the 49ers, making 79 yards and scoring no touchdowns.