during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Semi Final match between Tonga and England at Mt Smart Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Jason Taumalolo has broken his previous silence after a shock switch-over to play for Tonga on the eve of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, leading the nation on a fairy-tale run to the semi-finals.

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.”

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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”.


  1. This is good news! Personally, I’m a massive fan of seeing star players pledge allegiances to the lower-tier nations. Hoping to see more of it.

  2. With McGuire and Papalii playing Origin that weekend, hopefully Samoa can get Milford in there. Also this game is going to be very one sided if Samoa can get the likes of Taupau, Tuivasa-Sheck and Asofa-Solomona to play for them. Very unlikely those guys do play for their heritage, would be very good for the international game if the Samoan players do follow the Tongan players and play for their heritage.

    • +1. Imagine if Samoa fielded a similar calibre team…

      1. R.Tuivasa-Sheck
      2. D.Nofoaluma
      3. J.Leilua
      4. T.Lafai
      5. P.Sami
      6. A.Milford
      7. M.Lino
      8. N.Asofa-Solomona
      9. K.Pritchard
      10. M.Taupau
      11. J.Papalii
      12. I.Soliola
      13. J.McGuire

      14. P.Godinet
      15. L.Ah Mau
      16. H.Ese’ese
      17. R.Faitala-Mariner

      • Honestly that is a pretty good team I was thinking a team more like this:

        1. Tuivasa-Sheck
        2. Maumalo
        3. Lafai
        4. Leilua
        5. Nofoaluma
        6. Milford
        7. Lino
        8. Asofa-Solomona
        9. Pritchard
        10. Taupau
        11. Soliola
        12. Papalii
        13. McGuire

        14. Brown
        15. Paulo
        16. Kasiano
        17. Liu

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