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18 Dec 2017 0:52
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  •   Home > News > Sports

    Taumalolo holds tongue after Kiwis snub

    Rugby league star Jason Taumalolo says he'll do his talking on the field after coming in for criticism for his defection from New Zealand to Tonga.


    He'll do his talking on the field.

    Rugby league wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo has refused to bite back at criticism of his World Cup defection from New Zealand to Tonga.

    Both current Kiwis captain Adam Blair and former captain Benji Marshall have taken swipes at the Cowboys-based lock since his decision to play for Mate Ma'a last week, saying he'd betrayed the black-and-white jumper.

    He gave coach David Kidwell barely 48 hours' notice of his choice.

    Born in Auckland to Tongan parents, the 2016 Dally M medallist said he snubbed New Zealand for Tonga to develop league in the Polynesian nation.

    And, having arrived in the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa on Thursday for a pre-Cup visit, he gave short shrift to the likes of Blair and Marshall.

    "Obviously I've caused a bit of media stir and all that, but at the end of the day, I'm here to play for my country and I'm looking forward to doing that. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion," Taumalolo told TVNZ.

    "Everyone's entitled to say what they want, but at the end of the day it doesn't bother me - I tend to leave all the talking on the field.

    "I wish in some way we could take the field soon, but I guess I'll have to wait until we come across them on the battlefield."

    Taumalolo - whose arrival in Nuku'alofa was delayed by 24 hours due to an overloaded flight - said he was doing his parents proud by playing for Tonga.

    A host of other players in the wider Kiwis' squad, including Manu Ma'u, David Fusitu'a and Sio Siua Taukeiaho, have also elected to represent Mate Ma'a, making them a credible World Cup contender.

    Tonga's first World Cup game is against Scotland in Cairns on October 29, before matches against Samoa and Blair's Kiwis in Hamilton.


    NZN




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