RWC 2023 – Fifita among new faces in powerful Tonga Rugby World Cup squad

Titans striker David Fifita is expected to wear the Tonga jersey for the first time in a Rugby World Cup warm-up game against France after arriving in England from the Pacific nation. Fifita is one of 21 NRL stars on the 24-man Mate Ma’a Tonga team, which includes NSW Origin representatives Daniel Tupou and Siosefa Talakai, as well as Panthers rookie linebacker Isaiah Katoa and prostitute Sonia Luke.

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The strength of Christian Wulff’s team is highlighted by the fact that players are either unavailable or overlooked, including injured Broncos center Cotoni Staggs, West Tigers forward Joe Ofengaue and Bulldogs enforcer Tavita Pangay Jr.

World Championship veterans Andrew Fifita and David Fusitua, who played a key role in the Pacific nation’s stunning rise at the 2017 Rugby World Cup, will also miss the upcoming tournament in England. Tongan captain Will Hopoat, his St. Helens teammate Conrad Harrell and Huddersfield playmaker Tui Lolohea are the three Super League players on the team.

Fifita, Tupou, Talakai, Titans mainstay Moeaki Fotuayka, Warriors forward Ben Murdock-Masila, and Broncos defenseman Tesi Niu are others who did not participate in the off-season test against the Kiwis. The squad was announced on the official Tonga Rugby League social media accounts.

Tonga, who are No. 2 in the IRL world rankings, will start their Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign against Papua New Guinea at St. Helens on October 18 before facing Wales and the Cook Islands in their remaining pool matches.

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Star striker Jason Taumalolo will miss the first two matches, as well as this weekend’s warm-up with France in Halifax, after receiving a three-game suspension for a tackle in North Queensland’s semi-final loss to Parramatta.

Mate Ma’a Tonga 

  • Talatau Amone (St George Illawarra Dragons)
  • David Fifita (Gold Coast Titans)
  • Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors)
  • Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans)
  • Siliva Havili (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  • William Hopoate (St Helens Saints)
  • Konrad Hurrell (St Helens Saints)
  • Isaiya Katoa (Penrith Panthers)
  • Sione Katoa (Cronulla Sharks)
  • Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm)
  • Keaon Koloamatangi (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  • Toluta’u Koula (Manly Sea Eagles)
  • Tui Lolohea (Huddersfield Giants)
  • Soni Luke (Penrith Panthers)
  • Ben Murdoch-Masila (Warriors)
  • Tesi Niu (Brisbane Broncos)
  • Haumole Olakau’atu (Manly Sea Eagles)
  • Will Penisini (Parramatta Eels)
  • Mosese Suli (St George Illawarra Dragons)
  • Siosifa Talakai (Cronulla Sharks)
  • Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  • Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters)
  • Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
  • Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)

Tonga claim France Rugby World Cup 2023 spot to face two of the world’s top three sides in daunting group

Tonga beat Hong Kong to secure a spot at the France Rugby World Cup 2023. Tonga secured their place in the RWC 2023 by overtaking Asian champions Hong Kong. The Tongans triumphed 44-22 in the Asia-Pacific Playoffs on Saturday at Australia’s Sunshine Coast Stadium to claim a spot in current year’s France Exhibition Tournament, their ninth World Cup appearance.

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They will now join Romania, Ireland, Scotland and world champions South Africa in Group B, starting their campaign against the Irish in Nantes on 16 September 2023. one) and the reigning South African champions (number three).

Tonga’s attempt to qualify for the Rugby World Cup began a little over a year ago when they lost to Samoa in both legs of the Oceania 1 playoffs (42-13 and 37-15), losing 79-28 on aggregate. The Pacific Islanders then scored a 54-10 victory over the Cook Islands, earning them the right to compete in the Asia-Pacific 1 playoff against Hong Kong.

As for Hong Kong, their hopes of qualifying are not yet over as they move on to the final qualifier in November, a four-team round robin with Portugal, Kenya and the US. More details on dates, format and venue will be announced on Monday, July 25th.

Hong Kong, which is led by former Dragons player Lewis Evans as coach, has never qualified for the Rugby World Cup 2023, while Tonga has conceded only once since the start of the tournament.

Israel Folau, Charles Piutau and Malakai Fekitoa headline Tonga Rugby World Cup  squad

Former All Blacks and Wallabies stars Israel Folau, Charles Piutau and Malakai Fekitoa are leading Tonga’s newly named team to compete in the July Pacific Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup qualifiers. All three players were included in Tutai Kefu’s Ikale Tahi 31-man team that will face Fiji, Samoa and Australia A in the Pacific Cup of Nations that precedes the World Cup play-off match against Hong Kong, South Korea or Malaysia.

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The inclusion of Folau, Piutau and Fekitoa marks the return to international rugby for all three players under new World Rugby eligibility laws introduced on 1 January. These laws allow test restricted players to represent a second country to which they are birthrighted after a three-year retirement from international rugby.

Folau, Piutau and Fekitoa qualify for Tonga under these rules as all three players have not competed in Test Rugby for at least four years. After playing the last of his 73 Tests for the Wallabies in November 2018, Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia the following year after he posted on Instagram saying hell awaits drunkards, homosexuals, adulterers and more.

Since then, the 33-year-old has tossed between rugby union and rugby league but found a home this year at the Shining Arcs Tokyo-Bay Urayasu in Japan Rugby League One, scoring 10 tries in 12 matches. Folau is expected to start in Ikale Tahi’s stellar backline alongside Piutau and Fekitoa, who last played for the All Blacks in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Players Piutau and Fekitoa have featured for their clubs since leaving New Zealand in search of European wealth and will provide Tonga with a lot of star power in a team that also features two-Test former All Blacks midfielder Augustine Poolu.

Pulu last played for the All Blacks in 2014 and joined Folau, Piutau and Fekitoa as four of 13 players poised to make their Ikale Tahi debut. All but one of the other unrestricted players named on the Tonga team hail from Moana Pacifica, a new Super Rugby Pacific franchise that provided Kefu with a total of 13 players on his last team.

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Moana Pacifica’s uncovered players in the Tonga Rugby World Cup team are defenders Tau Coloamatangi and Joe Apikotoa, Veikoso Poloniati Castle, free striker Lotu Inisi, midfielder Manu Paea, top five William Havili, and flankers Tim Faingaanuku and Anselo Tuitavuki. For more know about Tonga Vs Romania Tickets.

Koloamatangi, a Hong Kong international who passed one test, and Inisi were part of the Tonga squad scheduled to play against the All Blacks, Samoa and the Cook Islands last July, but never made the field. All of these players have been joined by former Highlanders and Chiefs defender Siate Tokolahi, who now trades in France for Poe as an unrestricted contingent with Ikale Tahi.

Five more Moana Pacifica players – prostitute Sam Moly, free-forwards Solomone Funaki and Sione Tuipulotu, midfielder Fine Inisi and striker Solomon Kata – were also named Kefu. Toulon midfielder Sonatane Takulua, Bordeaux mainstay Ben Tameifuna, Highlanders midfielder Fetuly Paea, Scarlets winger Sam Luzi, Harlequins forward Viliamy Taulani and Pau mainstay Siegfried Fizikhoy are other notable additions to Tonga’s roster.

Other former internationals, such as ex-All Blacks midfielder George Moala, are now also eligible for Tonga’s selection but have not been included in that squad, with more expected to be added in the coming months. This could see former wallaby duo Sekope Kepu and Adam Coleman and former All Blacks pairing Vaea Fifita and Atu Moli added to Ikale Tahi’s team for the November test window.

Tonga will open their Pacific Nations Cup campaign against Fiji in Suva on 3 July, followed by matches against Samoa and Australia A in Lautoka on 10 and 17 July respectively. Ikale Tahi will then play in a World Cup qualifier against next month’s Asian Rugby Cup winner in Australia on 23 July. The winner of this play-off match will join South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Romania in Group B for next year’s World Cup in France.

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Tonga Pacific Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup qualifier squad

Loosehead Props: Siegfried Fisiihoi, Tau Kolomatangi, David Lolohea

Hookers: Sam Moli, Siua Maile, Jay Fonokalafi

Tighthead Props: Siate Tokolahi, Ben Tameifuna, Joe ‘Apikotoa

Locks: Sam Lousi, Leva Fifita, Veikoso Poloniati

Loose Forwards: Tanginoa Halaifonua, Viliami Taulani, Lotu Inisi, Solomone Funaki, Sione Tu’ipulotu

Halfbacks: Sonatane Takulua, Augustine Pulu, Manu Paea

First-Fives: William Havili, James Faiva

Midfielders: Malakai Fekitoa, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Fetuli Paea, Fine Inisi

Outside Backs: Solomone Kata, Charles Piutau, Tima Fainga’anuku, Israel Folau, Anzelo Tuitavuki

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