A desire to honour his family and cultural heritage led the 25-year-old to represent Tonga over New Zealand in a sensational switch, helping Mate Ma’a to three wins.
Taumalolo told NRL.com that the World Cup was an inherently positive experience; one he had never been a part of before.
“The following we had and the amount of support we had was overwhelming and it made our journey in the World Cup that much more special,” Taumalolo said.
“To share it with a group of boys who obviously sacrificed a lot to be a part of that group, I find it really hard to describe how proud I am of them all.”
Taumalolo’s main goal now is to establish Tonga as a powerhouse in the international rugby league, re-comitting again through passion for heritage.
“We want to help make international rugby league stronger and the best way for us to do that is by making Tonga a competitive team internationally,” he added.
“I hope the governing bodies of the game also follow suit by making sure Tonga and other tier two nations have the opportunity to play regular meaningful games against tier one nations.”
The clash between Tonga and Samoa in last year’s World Cup according to Taumalolo proved the highlight of the entire tournament and an unforgettable experience.
“The lead up to that game was unbelievable. Everyone knows about the traditional rivalry between Tonga and Samoa, but I think that game was bigger than anyone expected,” he told NRL.com.
“I can’t wait to get out there wearing that Tongan jersey again”.