Andrew Fifita has stunned the Australian Kangaroos by withdrawing from their squad to represent Tonga at the 2017 World Cup.
Fifita was named in Mal Meninga’s 24-man squad just 48 hours ago, but the Sharks prop has now decided to don the red of the Mate Ma’a.
His decision comes just hours after Jason Taumalolo turned his back on the Kiwis in order to player for Tonga, who now have a formidable looking team for the tournament.
Australia have called up Reagan Campbell-Gillard to replace Fifita, who has received criticism for his decision after playing for New South Wales in this year’s State of Origin.
Kangaroos’ coach Meninga, who has also brought Josh Mansour into his squad to replace the injured Darius Boyd, says he respects Fifita’s decision.
“Andrew called me and said he was passionate about playing for Tonga and I respect and support that decision,” Meninga said.
“It is obviously a significant boost for Tonga as well as the World Cup – and international rugby league in general.”
Following the inclusion of Fifita, Tonga named their World Cup squad earlier today and it features numerous Super League and NRL superstars.
Tonga World Cup squad:
Ben Murdoch Masila
Tevita Pangai jnr
Sio Siua Taukieaho