Former Wigan Warriors boss Frank Endacott has been appointed as the new head coach of Tonga.
The appointment comes after the Tonga RL board controversially sacked new St Helens coach Kristian Woolf, reportedly causing a rift between themselves and the players.
It is hoped that the appointment of Endacott will repair the breakdown in the relationship.
As Wigan coach, he led the club to the 2000 Grand Final and was named Super League Coach of the Season in the same year.
Endacott will now be in charge of the Mate Ma’a for this Autumn’s clashes with Great Britain and Tonga – while former Gold Coast Titans boss Garth Brennan will be in charge of Tonga’s World Cup 9s side.
“It’s always a challenge to take on the top teams and both Australia and Great Britain have been in the top echelon for years,” Endacott said.
“The Mate Ma’a Tonga players are world class and we see how good they are week in and week out in both the NRL and Super League. To have a chance to work with those players will be outstanding.”
Former Bradford cult hero Lesley Vainikolo and ex-Salford winger Manu Vatuvai have been named as Endacott’s assistants, as has NRL legend Duane Mann.