22 Nov 2017

Sport: Mate Ma'a Tonga boosted by return of Taukeiaho

2:46 pm on 22 November 2017

Mate Ma'a Tonga have received a boost with Siosiau Taukeiaho and Peni Terepo back for Saturday's Rugby League World Cup semi-final appearance against England in Auckland.

Both missed the quarter-final victory over Lebanon at the weekend through injury, with Taukeiaho replacing Joe Ofahengaue at prop and Terepo coming onto an extended reserves bench.

Taukeiaho said choosing to play for his country of heritage during the World Cup has paid dividends for him and the team.

Tongan prop Siosiua Taukeiaho.

Tongan prop Siosiua Taukeiaho. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He was one of four players who chose to represent the Kingdom of Tonga instead of New Zealand, alongside Jason Taumalolo, Manu Ma'u and David Fusitu'a.

"I think a few of the boys when they got called up to play for the Kiwis their parents were happy but I think when they chose to play for Tonga there was a bit of tears and joy," he reflected.

"Choosing to go play for a real small nation, not much money but I think the pride and the love that we wanted to put on that red and white nation and represent our little nation and our supporters as well."

Meanwhile the Fiji Bati have stuck with the same squad that stunned New Zealand for Friday night's opening semi against defending champions Australia in Brisbane.

England and Australia have also kept the same teams.

Tonga team:

William Hopoate, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Konrad Hurrell, David Fusitua, Tuimoala Lolohea, Mafoa'aeata Hingano, Andrew Fifita, Siliva Havili, Siosiua, Taukeiaho, Manu Ma'u, Sika Manu (c), Jason Taumalolo, Bench: Sione Katoa, Peni Terepo, Tevita Pangai Junior, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Sam Moa, Manu Vatuvei, Joe Ofahengaue, Samisoni Langi

Fiji squad:

Kevin Naiqama (c), Suliasi Vunivalu, Taane Milne, Akuila Uate, Marcelo Montoya, Jarryd Hayne, Henry Raiwalui, Ashton Sims, Apisai Koroisau, Eloni Vunakece, Viliame Kikau, Brayden Wiliame, Tui Kamikamica Bench: Joe Lovodua, Jacob Saifiti, Junior Roqica, Ben Nakubuwai, James Storer, Salesi Faingaa, Sitiveni Moceidreke, Pio Sokobalavu

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