Whilst the Super League season still has plenty to wrap up with the play off semi-finals featuring Wigan Warriors hosting Hull KR and St Helens travelling to Catalans Dragons set for this weekend, the end of season internationals are just around the corner.
The international game is the elite level of the sport as exemplified at the World Cup last year and the return of an international calendar, as announced by International Rugby League Chair Troy Grant earlier this year was a welcome one.
That confirmed tests for Australia and New Zealand along with other Pacific Island nations as well as re-committing to the previously announced England versus Tonga test series.
Former St Helens boss Kristian Woolf brings over his man to face off against England in three highly anticipated clashes.
Upon the announcement it was speculated as to which Tongan stars in Super League would feature with three having starred at the World Cup.
Those three were St Helens duo Will Hopoate and Konrad Hurrell as well as Huddersfield’s Tui Lolohea, all of whom have been named in the squad to face England later this month.
However they are the only three which means there is no call-up for Leigh Leopards’ forward Tom Amone who is coming off the back of an incredibly impressive season, one that ended in Dream Team honours.
The squad also doesn’t feature former Kiwi international Dallin Watene Zelezniak who had been rumoured to have switched national allegiance to represent Tonga, but he is left out on a medical basis.
On naming his side Kristian Woolf released a statement regarding the selection, shared via the NRL’s website.
“This squad is a strong mix of both players who have shown their passion and skill for Tonga previously, and a few new faces that have underlined their promise with their form in the NRL this season,” Woolf said.
“The inclusion of players like Addin Fonua-Blake, Will Hopoate and Felise Kuafusi and the addition of Tyson Frizell to a Tongan squad for the first time will give us a great base.
“But this is also a Tongan squad for the future, and we are going to give some of our impressive young players a chance to show their talents on the international stage.”
The Tongan squad will head out to England next week for the three match series that sees games at St Helens on October 22 followed by Tests at Huddersfield on October 28 and Leeds on November 4.
Latu Fainu (Sea Eagles)
Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors)
Moeaki Fotuaika (Titans)
Tyson Frizell (Knights)
Siliva Havili (Rabbitohs)
William Hopoate (St Helens)
Konrad Hurrell (St Helens)
Isaiya Katoa (Dolphins)
Eliesa Katoa (Storm)
Felise Kaufusi (Dolphins)
Keaon Koloamatangi (Rabbitohs)
Tolutau Koula (Sea Eagles)
Tuimoala Lolohea (Huddersfield Giants)
Haumole Olakau’atu (Sea Eagles)
Will Penisini (Eels)
Hame Sele (Rabbitohs)
Mosese Suli (Dragons)
Tevita Tatola (Rabbitohs)
Dion Teaupa (Rabbitohs)
Starford To’a (Wests Tigers)
Daniel Tupou (Roosters)
Siua Wong (Roosters)