The Tongan Rugby League have officially named their 2017 Rugby League World Cup squad with Sharks prop Andrew Fifita and North Queensland Cowboys’ star Jason Taumalolo included in the 24-man squad.
Earlier today Fifita withdrew from the Kangaroo squad in announcing he would represent Tonga in the World Cup tournament which begins on October 27 after advising Australian coach Mal Meninga he wished to make the switch.
Parramatta forward Manu Ma’u, Warriors’ winger David Fusitu’a and Roosters’ prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho will also advised New Zealand they would commit to Tonga.
The five big names are joined in the squad by former Kangaroos Michael Jennings and Daniel Tupou.
Other players to note include Titans’ centre Konrad Hurrell, Tigers’ half Tuimoala Lolohea, former Storm grand final winner Sika Manu and ex-Warriors’ crowd favourite Manu Vatuvei.
“The Tongan Rugby League is very pleased with the squad we have been able to assemble, and when you see names like Taumalolo, Fifita, Taukeiaho, Ma’u, Hopoate, Jennings and Tupou in the team, you can understand why,” said Tongan head coach Kristian Woolf.
“We have been drawn in a very strong group that includes the might of New Zealand, traditional neighbours and foes Samoa, and previous Four Nations participants Scotland.
“Tonga needed to pick a strong a squad as possible and with the team we have been able to assemble, we think we have the ability to be very competitive.”"
Woolf also welcomed the Oreana Group, comprised of Oreana Financial Services – offering leading wealth advisory and asset management solutions to retail and institutional clients through the Asia Pacific – and Oreana Property Group, a diversified company operating in the Australian residential and commercial markets.
“Oreana have shown a great commitment to come on board as our Official Partner for this tournament – the support they provide will assist us in trying to make this Tonga’s most successful World Cup ever,” he said.
“I’d like to thank them and the other supporters of our operation for their efforts to make Tonga a real threat in this tournament.”
Those other sponsors include the Tonga Government (www.Tongaholiday.com), R.D & S Prior Drainage and Plumbing Contractors, Tonga Power Limited, FI-TA, Tucorp, Classic Concrete Pumping, EPS Electrical Project Solutions, The Miller Family and Optimum Nutrition.
Tonga’s schedule of pool matches includes their first game against Scotland in Cairns on October 29, the rivalry game against Samoa in Hamilton on November 4 and a clash with New Zealand in Hamilton on November 11.
Tonga Rugby League World Cup 2017 Squad
• Andrew Fifita
• Mahe Fonua
• David Fusitu’a
• Siliva Havilli
• Ata Hingano
• Will Hopoate
• Konrad Hurrell
• Michael Jennings
• Solomone Kata
• Sione Katoa
• Samisoni Langi
• Tuimoala Lolohea
• Sika Manu
• Manu Ma'u
• Sam Moa
• Ben Murdoch Masila
• Joe Ofahengaue
• Tevita Pangai jnr
• Ukuma Ta'ai
• Sio Siua Taukieaho
• Jason Taumalolo
• Peni Terepo
• Daniel Tupou
• Manu Vatuvei