It was well-known that scouts representing the NFL were attending the Rugby World Cup in the hope of finding the next star of gridiron.
Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has already made the transition across codes so it was inevitable that the NFL would come looking for talent that could potentially make the switch at rugby’s showpiece event.
Osi Umenyiora, the NFL’s London-born UK ambassador, says that two players have been identified by the scouts, but can’t be approached until after Saturday’s final between New Zealand and Australia.
In an interview with the Mirror the two-time Super Bowl winner Umenyiora also picked his NFL Dream Team of players who have played at the Rugby World Cup.
Umenyiora refuses to confirm the names of the two players who will be approached by the NFL, but he in the interview he gives special mention to All Blacks try machine Julian Savea and England’s Anthony Watson.
“No doubt about it, the guys in question are genuine candidates. Their particular skill sets transfer over. We think they will be very good.”
“Everyone in the NFL remembers Jonah Lomu and the way he changed rugby, and loads of people in the States noticed him. Obviously New Zealand’s Julian Savea is being dubbed the ‘new Jonah’, and he has been awesome this tournament.
“His hat-trick of tries (against France) blew me away. The guy ran over people for his second try and you definitely sit up and notice!”
Osi Umenyiora’s NFL dream team of Rugby World Cup players
Wide receiver: Mike Brown (Eng), Julian Savea (NZ)
Tight end: George North (Wal)
Centre: Dane Coles (NZ)
Guard: Cian Healy (Ire) Gethin Jenkins (Wal)
Offensive tackle: Sean O’Brien (Ire) Sam Warburton (Wal)
Quarterback: Dan Biggar (Wal)
Running back: Greg Laidlaw (Sco), Aaron Smith (NZ)
Kicker: Owen Farrell (Eng)
Defensive end: Bismarck du Plessis (SA), Ross Ford (Sco)
Defensive tackle: Marcos Ayerza (Arg), Dan Cole (Eng)
Cornerback: Jonathan Joseph (Eng), Anthony Watson (Eng)
Outside linebacker: Dan Lydiate (Wal), James Haskell (Eng)
Middle linebacker: Jamie Heaslip (Ire)
Safety: Jerome Kaino (NZ), David Pocock (Aus)