NFL agent Jack Bechta at Rugby World Cup to find next Jarryd Hayne

LONDON -- The message from NFL agent Jack Bechta is clear: he is at the Rugby World Cup to find the next sport-switching star.

A precedent of sorts is already there in Jarryd Hayne, the Australian rugby league hero who is taking his first tentative steps for the five-time Super Bowl champions, the San Francisco 49ers.

Hayne's journey has taken him from the Parramatta Eels to surprise back-up running back in just 11 months. That journey was guided by his agent, Bechta.

"I'm actively scouting and trying to identify three to five guys who potentially fit the profile of an NFL player," Bechta told ESPN.

"Rugby players are better-conditioned athletes than NFL players -- from a toughness, training standpoint they won't have any problems making the transfer."

Despite the success of Hayne, Bechta says the Australian is an exceptional talent in every sense of the word and not everyone who tries to make the switch from rugby league or union to the NFL will succeed.

But Bechta knows what it takes after seeing Dan Lyle make an impact in union after ditching his NFL career in the 1990s. The former American football college player was training with the Minnesota Vikings at the time but joined Bath, and the prospect of cross-code moves intrigued the agent.

After taking Hayden Smith, the Saracens lock, to the New York Jets for a year, Hayne is Betcha's latest project. Now he is on the lookout for more potential stars.

"I'd be respectful and contact their specific agents and do things the right way," he said. "But I don't see this massive migration from rugby to NFL. I could see three to five players a year trying out, maybe more.

"Only one out of every five or 10 will make it. It is a tough journey. It is more challenging than people think.

"It is the mental challenge of learning a new game. Under our CBA [collective bargaining agreement, which governs the players' relationship with the NFL itself] there are finite opportunities to practise and work with the coaches. It's very limited.

"In our last CBA the players asked for less training periods so that hurts young players and any players making the transfer.

"In Hayne's case, I hired the best NFL former coaches and surrounded him with former players and gave him a crash course on the basics before we decided to sign him to a team. You make a substantial investment as an agent into an athlete."

The same went for USA Eagles' Smith when he journeyed from Saracens to the Jets in April 2012. He played a season in New York but his NFL career as a tight end was curtailed after one campaign.

Bechta said: "I remember [USA Eagles back-row] Todd Clever marched him [Smith] into my office and I saw this kid who had all the right characteristics -- looked like a Rob Gronkowski [tight end for the New England Patriots and a superstar in his own right].

"Smith had an understanding of the game and also played basketball. I put him with some coaches like the guy who coached [San Diego Chargers tight end] Antonio Gates. His coach was out of work so I hired him to work with Hayden.

"He was elevated to the active squad for the New York Jets and he caught a pass in his first game; that isn't an easy thing to do. He got up at 5am every morning and didn't leave until 6pm every night.

"In the second year, he maybe put on too much muscle and the new management didn't have the patience for his journey. What's interesting is that head coach Rex Ryan, who went from the Jets to the [Buffalo] Bills, was disappointed the Jets gave up on him."

The same level of dedication was put into Hayne's switch, both by the player and agent.

"It is his ability to catch punts and kickoffs and open-field running that stands out. That was a very noticeable transferable skill. We didn't really know if he could play safety, running back or receiver. We weren't sure.

"The unique thing about Jarryd was his desire to make the transfer that was set in place a few years ago. He studied NFL; he watched it. He never knew he was going to do it for sure, but he admired the game. He also knew it was a big stage and wanted to challenge himself.

"Having the skill set was one thing but having the desire to do it, give up everything and realise he might be throwing away a rugby career to risk it all for NFL is just another thing completely.

"They are the intangibles that separate Hayne from the physicality of just switching codes. That separates Jarryd from the other guys."

Bechta would not be drawn on exactly who is in his sights at the World Cup but he took in England's opener against Fiji and no doubt would have been impressed by gigantic Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo.

He was also present at the USA's match against Samoa before taking in Australia's game against Fiji at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday.

The positions for which he is earmarking players are running back, fullback, tight end. The players need to be 6- foot- 3 to 6-5 and anywhere from 240-250lbs, and able to run a 40-yard sprint in between 4.5 and 4.70 seconds. He is also looking for potential defensive ends.

Players under consideration will ideally be aged 25 and under, and Bechta's focus will be primarily around Polynesian players, an area of the world that has been linked with the NFL in terms of player production for some time.

Just don't expect the next player to follow a similar path to Hayne to be an unknown. "The World Cup is the field where players make names for themselves," Bechta said. "Usually the player I'm looking for is the man among boys who dominates and is usually one of the best or fastest players on the field. It's usually the obvious ones."