Hayne ready for the big hits

Australian rugby league convert Jarryd Hayne says he is unfazed by the prospect of facing his first collision with the San Francisco 49ers as he chases his dream of forging a career in the NFL.

The 27-year-old former Australia, New South Wales and Parramatta Eels star signed with the 49ers in March during off-season workouts and is now battling to make the cut ahead of the start of the regular season in September.

Hayne's speed and footwork have seen him earmarked as being either a running back or a kick-returner on special teams. 

However, he has revealed that he has been working on altering his distinctive upright running style that made him such a success in rugby league, aiming to get lower to make him harder to hit. 

"I'm running a little bit differently than I would in rugby league," Hayne told reporters at the 49ers training camp in Santa Clara. 

"That's a big thing for me, with the transition I've got to get lower and change my running style." 

Hayne's new running technique will be put to the test on Tuesday when the 49ers ramp up their training with the start of full-contact sessions. 

Hayne, however, is not concerned by the prospect of going head-to-head with the big players in the NFL.

"I don't think about it like that," he said when asked about how he was preparing for the first hit. 

"I'm more worried about the protections and running through the right holes. 

"It's going to take time and I'm sure there are going to be times when I get smashed and run a little bit too upright but that's part of the learning curve and I don't have fear of that.

"I'd rather get hit hard and learn like that. You learn from your mistakes and I'm sure I'm going to make them. For me it's not about making mistakes, it's about learning from them." 

Hayne said he is getting ready to be struck by opposing players' helmets, part and parcel of collisions in American football. 

"With the helmet, a lot of players obviously lead with their head and use their head as a kind of force to get over running backs," Hayne said. 

"That's something that's a bit different in this game."

Hayne appeared to acknowledge, meanwhile, that his natural skill-set may be better suited to kick returning rather than as a conventional running back. 

"At running back, you've got a lot more things to do; in a return, you've got to read a couple of blockers and react, which is maybe what I'm a lot more natural at," he said.

The 49ers will trim their 90-man squad to 75 in early September before whittling it down to a 53-strong roster on September 5, ahead of a September 14 season opener against the Minesota Vikings.

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