Tongan debutant, and former Wales and Australian representative Tyson Frizell has defended the current system allowing rugby league players to hop between nations once per year.

Frizell is one of a host of players who has already represented more than one nation, and will turn out for Tonga for the first time this year as they tour England for a three-Test series.

Frizell who is eligible for Wales through his father and for Tonga through his mother, said the current system was right.

"Mal's a big advocate for international footy," Frizell said, per

"But there's a ruling on second-tier nations. You want the best players playing in the big games. I don't know if we can pigeonhole players to play for one nation or just Origin and you can't play for other international countries.

“I've played my junior footy in NSW and I've always wanted to play for the Blues. I'm a proud Tongan as well and Welsh. Are they saying I'm more passionate about one side of family than the other? That's just not true.

“Obviously some boys are just pure Aussie and it just falls into that... [but] it's different circumstances for me.”

The Newcastle Knights second-rower, who very nearly relocated permanently to the English Super League this year, made his international debut with Wales in 2011 and has played six Tests for the European nation, before playing 14 Tests for Australia between 2016 and 2019 as he went through a stint as one of the best second-rowers in the game with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

He has also represented New South Wales 16 times between 2016 and 2023.

Frizell, who was born in Wollongong, is eligible for all three nations by way of the current international eligibility rules which allow players to nominate for a Tier 1 (Australia, New Zealand and England) team, and a Tier 2 (all other nations) team, or more if eligible. The only caveat is that players may not play for multiple Tier 1 teams across their career, and can not switch between nations in the same calendar year.

That came to light last year when Victor Radley committed for England, ruling him ineligible from potential future Australian or New South Wales State of Origin jerseys.

Frizell's comments come after recent questions over the eligibility system - something that seems to pop up each year around international time when players switch nations.

Kristian Woolf, who is set to coach Tonga against England, said that the current rules are a must if the international game wants more than three teams while also revealing Kotoni Staggs was set to play for Tonga up until the day before the squad to tour England was named.

"If we want a genuine international competition that has more than three teams, if we want it to be what it is at the moment where it's five, six, seven teams that are becoming really competitive, then the rules need to stay as they are.

“To me, I can't see any problem with the rules. I know if becomes frustrating for coaches and fans at different times when players do change. Kotoni Staggs, as far as we knew up until the day before we named our squad, was playing for Tonga."

Tonga's first test against England on what is a historic tour will be played this weekend.