Tonga have put NSW stars Daniel Tupau and Cotoni Stags on the verge of clashing with the Blues after naming them in a squad to play New Zealand on Saturday, the day before Origin II in Perth.
Tonga coach Christian Wolf has named a 25-member squad, with Tupou Wing and Stags in fifth-eighth place, a call that will probably force two stars to choose between state and country.
Manley second-rower Houmol Olakauatu and Cronulla center Ciosifa Talakai, both of whom have been cited as contenders for the Blues squad, were also named.
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Under current qualifying rules, players from Tier 2 countries like Tonga can play State of Origin without declaring their allegiance to Australia.
However, the current schedule, involving a separate representative weekend, puts an original game on the calendar at the same time as playing Pacific Nations Test matches, creating a huge headache when players are both eligible to play.
Wolf says Tonga has named its strongest available squad because the Pacific nation is looking to provide the best possible squad for the World Cup in England at the end of the season.
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“We have announced a strong squad that includes experienced players who have helped Tonga win in the past,” Wolf said.
“There are also a plethora of new players in the team who will be important as the World Cup year progresses and beyond.
“There are players who can play for both the mainland and Tonga and where they will play will be decided on Sunday when both the interstate and international teams will be selected for next week’s representative match.
“What we don’t want to happen is that players with these dual qualifications are not selected in one team and then deprived of being available to play in another team.”
- Tolotau Kaula (Sea Eagle)
- Daniel Tupu (cock)
- Moses Sully (Dragon)
- Zion Katwa (Shark)
- Cotoni Stags (Broncos)
- Talatau Amon (Dragon)
- Ciosia Taukiaho (Cock)
- Silver Haveli (Rabito)
- Adin Fonua-Blake (Warrior)
- Cityly Tupuunua (rooster)
- Keon Kolomatangi (Rabbit)
- Jason Toumalolo (Cowboy)
- Sony Look (Panthers)
- Haumole Olakauatu (Sea Eagle)
- Tevita Pangai jnr (Bulldogs)
- Avoid tatola (rabbit)
- Moaki Fotuaika (Titan)
- Will Penicini (Ils)
- Isaiah Katowice (Panther)
- Andrew Fifita (Shark)
- Joe Ofahengau (West Tigers)
- Starford Toa (West Tigers)
- Christian Tuipulotu (Sea Eagle)
- Alyssa Katoa (fighter)
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