Jarryd Hayne
Sep 14, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne (38) poses with an Australian flag after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi's Stadium. Reuters/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jarryd Hayne said he feels better and stronger ahead of sophomore season with the San Francisco 49ers, according to his strength coach Cato Rutherford.

Hayne is heading into the 2016-2017 season with renewed strength physically and mentally after spending three months of continuous workout in Australia with Rutherford, Hayne’s strength coach. Rutherford, who also worked with Hayne when he was pursuing his dream to switch to NFL, revealed that the Australian rugby league star has improved significantly in terms of “explosive strength” that could make him a more effective running back for the 49ers.

“It was very obvious to myself and him also when we started working together (this time), he noticed straight away he felt better, stronger, felt more balanced,” Rutherford told Fox Sports AU.

“One of the big stand out improvements with Jarryd was just his rate of force development, his explosive strength. That had really come a long way and that’s very important for someone that’s playing his position – the ability to go from zero to 100 in a short time period.”

Hayne returned to the United States this week for a preseason training, marking his first chance to work under 49ers new coach Chip Kelly. The 28-year-old Aussie said he is “excited” to start working with Kelly, believing that the system of the former Philadelphia Eagles coach would secure him a spot at the running back position.

However, Hayne is arguably facing an uphill battle for a running back position, with Carlos Hyde returning from foot injury. Sacramento Bee writer Matt Barrows believes Hyde will be 49ers’ top RB next season, but the selection for backup RB would get tricky, with all candidates coming in healthy ahead of the season.

"It will be interesting to see if Chip Kelly and his staff can better carve out an offensive role for the talented but still unrefined Hayne than their predecessors," Barrows wrote. "There's no question Hyde, fully recovered from his foot injury, will be the 49ers' top runner. After him, the depth becomes fuzzy.”