Salford’s Tongan halfback Tui Lolohea says his nation will be looking to “ride this momentum” they currently have into next year’s World Cup.
Tonga shocked the world last year after beating Great Britain in October, before defeating number one-ranked Australia a week later.
Those wins now mean the country are seriously considered as one of international rugby league’s big hitters, with global superstars including Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and Lolohea among those leading from the front.
“Those two games were probably the highlight of my career so far,” said Lolohea, who started at stand-off in both matches. “Obviously we’re back to reality and it’s all about building and going again.
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“We’ve done a good job since the last World Cup to build to where we want to be. We’ll hopefully get a couple more games this year, then hopefully a mid-season one next year leading into the 2021 World Cup.”
The big question now is, can Tonga actually win the World Cup?
Only three countries have lifted the trophy in the past – Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain – but Lolohea believes his nation are in the best possible position to cause an upset.
“I think any team that gets a couple of wins like we did should take massive confidence out of it,” he added. “That’s going to be a big thing for us really leading into the next year-and-a-half.
“We’ve got ride this momentum we’ve got.”