5 Oct 2017

Sport: Jason Taumalolo snubs NZ for Tonga

8:44 am on 5 October 2017

Jason Taumalolo has turned his back on the Kiwis and will represent Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup.

The North Queensland Cowboys second rower represented the Mate Ma'a at the 2013 tournament but has since played ten time for New Zealand, where he was born and raised.

Jason Taumalolo also represented Tonga at the 2013 World Cup.

Jason Taumalolo also represented Tonga at the 2013 World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 24-year-old said he felt it was time to give back and hopefully he can assist and inspire young Tongan players to chase their NRL goals.

"I really enjoyed my time within the Tongan World Cup Squad last time and have had a long-time association with Tongan coach Kristian Woolf," Taumalolo said in a statement.

"I just feel that it's time to give back and hopefully I can assist and inspire young Tongan players to chase their NRL goals.

"I see with the new international rule change an opportunity to represent both Tonga and NZ throughout my career," he said.

"I have and will always be proud to wear the Kiwis Jersey. I just feel the World Cup provides developing nations like Tonga and opportunity to play on the big stage and I would like to help them with their campaign."

Reports in Australia suggested Taumalolo's decision was in response to Kiwis coach David Kidwell's decision to overlook Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor for the World Cup, after they were involved in a drugs scandal after the Anzac Test in May.

Tonga's full-squad will be revealed later this morning, with the New Zealand team to be announced this afternoon.

Tonga and New Zealand will go head to head in Hamilton on November 11.

Jason Taumalolo in action

Jason Taumalolo in action for the Kiwis. Photo: photosport

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