Tonga rugby

'We'd love to have him': Tonga opens door for Israel Folau as brother vies for Cup squad

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed this week John Folau had backflipped on a deal to return to rugby league after asking the Waratahs for a release because of "personal reasons", believed to be related to his brother's controversial sacking.

The 24-year-old told Blacktown Workers, the feeder club for Manly, he would lace the boots this weekend for them but then told club officials he had decided to instead concentrate on his rugby.

Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Heartland XV to play at Eden Park as World Cup warm up

An announcement was made at the venue of the games on Wednesday morning, which will be warm up fixtures for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (Ateed), which is an arm of Auckland Council, is involved with putting on the games and there is hope that fans will come out in a similar way to how they've done for the Tongan rugby league team in recent years.

'I think he would get a lot of satisfaction out of playing for Tonga'

Folau is waiting to receive his punishment for being found guilty at a code of conduct hearing after his controversial Instagram post last month that said “hell awaits” gay people.

Folau faces the prospect of being banished from Australian rugby and if that eventuates, Kefu — who is now coach of the Tongan national team — said he would love to talk to the 73-Test veteran about switching allegiances.

Sam Lousi signs with Scarlets to open Tonga door

The former Waratahs Super Rugby and New Zealand Warriors rugby league forward is currently sidelined with what is expected to be a season-ending pectoral injury.

"I am very excited to join the Scarlets for next season," he told the Scarlets website.

"It is a team that plays an exciting brand of rugby and I am looking forward to linking up with a group of players that are ambitious to be winning trophies.

"Hopefully, I can help them push forward and achieve further success over the next few years."

Samoa, Tonga could be next as Fiji clinch NRC minor premiership

Rugby Australia high-performance boss Ben Whitaker confirmed they were in early talks with World Rugby about adding another Pacific Islands nation to the third tier competition after the Drua's success.

The Senirusi Seruvakula-coached side will host Canberra Vikings in Fiji in the first semi-final on Saturday after topping the regular season with a 33-28 win over the Western Force at the weekend.

Samoa A overpowers Tonga, 23-15 in Americas Pacific Cup

The side defeated Tonga A, 23-15, yesterday.

Winger Vaili scored a double to help the Muliagatele Brian Lima-coached team maintain their unbeaten record at the tournament, following a famous win over Argentina a few days ago.

Fifita, Woolf divided on late call

After the ball came loose and Fifita regathered to score what would have been the winning try on the final play of the game, referee Matt Cecchin ruled the NSW enforcer had knocked on rather than had the ball stripped by Elliott Whitehead in the lead up.

Further evidence suggests the call was correct, and post-match Fifita was quick to move past the issue, linking it to his stunning try in the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final where, on that occasion, luck favoured him.

"Look, that's football," Fifita said.

Taumalolo inspires trouncing

All the talk about the ex-New Zealand lock's controversial defection did not prove a distraction as Tonga cruised to a 50-4 win over Scotland in their Rugby League World Cup opener.

Taumalolo came up with the most runs (18) for his team, eating up 197 metres, making 19 tackles, and a line break in his 57 minutes on the field.

Tonga threatened to hammer the record books as much as the Bravehearts in their nine tries to one rout in front of 9216 fans.

Parramatta flyer Michael Jennings bagged a first half hat-trick, equalling the most in a Cup match by a Tongan.

Taumalolo fired up for Tonga

The 24-year-old was named North Queensland's player of the year at the weekend, an honour that capped off a difficult week after he controversially turned his back on the Kiwis to play for Tonga at the looming tournament.

Taumalolo has had a hectic season but is adamant he still has the energy for test rugby league at the highest level and will do everything he can to help Tonga.

"I go into camp next week and I'm looking forward to another chapter in my international career. It should be an exciting World Cup," Taumalolo told the Townsville Bulletin.

Manu Samoa make three changes for Tonga match

In the only change to the backline, the Chiefs utility replaces D'Angelo Leuila at fullback after missing last week's 19-17 defeat by Wales in Apia through injury.

Head coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia has also had to make some enforced changes in the front row, with Piacenza prop Nephi Leatigaga earning his first test start in place of the injured Viliamu Afatia, while veteran Census Johnston remains unavailable.