Kristian Woolf has named his Tonga squad for Cook Islands clash but there is still no room for St Helen’s outside back

Kristian Woolf has named his squad of the World Cup group stages as Tonga look to make it three wins on the bounce.

He is able to welcome back his captain Jason Taumalolo who missed the opening two fixtures due to a suspension he picked up whilst playing in the NRL for North Queensland Cowboys.

Taumalolo is one of the World’s best forwards and his inclusion at loose forward should bring some fluidity to the Tongan attack, something that has been lacking in their first two games.

There is still no place in the squad for St Helen’s Will Hopoate though who is yet to make an appearance at the tournament so far.

The outside back suffered an injury hit first season with the champions which is seemingly hindering his ability to play for Tonga at this tournament.

Woolf spoke prior to the tournament starting about “bullet proofing” Hopoate and making sure he was fit for the upcoming season. With the talent at his disposal for Tonga perhaps he is keeping the centre fit for his former club St Helens.

The Tongans have all but guaranteed a spot in the last 16 with wins in both their fixtures against Papua New Guinea and Wales but have been guilty of sloppiness in both of those games.

After their successful campaign in 2017 which saw them make the semi-finals and subsequent wins over Australia and Great Britain, Tonga have come into this tournament as one of the favourites but have looked far from their best so far.

With their position in the knockouts secured and the inclusion of captain Taumalolo, look for the Tongans to put together their most complete performance of the tournament as they look to start hitting peak form.

He is the squad in full:

  1. Daniel Tupou
  2. Will Penisini
  3. Sione Katoa
  4. Talatau Amone
  5. Tui Lolohea
  6. Addin Fonua-Blake
  7. Siosiua Taukeiaho
  8. Felise Kaufusi
  9. Jason Taumalolo
  10. Soni Luke
  11. Tevita Tatola
  12. Moeaki Fotuaika
  13. David Fifita
  14. Moses Suli
  15. Ben Murdoch-Masila
  16. Tesi Niu
  17. Konrad Hurrell
  18. Isaiya Katoa
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