Scotland rugby league captain Danny Brough with Tonga's Sika Manu. Rugby League World Cup Media photo call featuring the coach and a player from each of the 14 RLWC2017 teams Sofitel, Brisbane, Australia, 22 October 2017. Photos: Grant Trouville / NRL Photos

Mate Ma'a Tonga coach Kristian Woolf is opening the 2017 Rugby League World Cup with all guns blazing after selecting his team for Sunday’s clash with Scotland in Cairns.

Woolf named NRL stars Will Hopoate, Michael Jennings, Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo all as starters in the first of three pool matches.

Ata Hingano is the only one of Tonga’s three current Vodafone Warriors named with Solomone Kata and David Fusitu’a on an extended bench.

Recently-departed Vodafone Warriors great Manu Vatuvei is on the wing in a backline which also includes former Vodafone Warriors Konrad Hurrell and Tuimoala Lolohea while Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Siliva Havili are in the starting pack. Ukuma Ta’ai hasn't been included.

A total of 11 of the 17 players selected to face the Bravehearts have appeared at Test level for the Kiwis or the Kangaroos - Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings and Andrew Fifita for the Kangaroos and Vatuvei, Lolohea, Taukeiaho, Havili, Sika Manu, Manu Ma'u, Jason Taumalolo and Sam Moa for the Kiwis. 

Mate Ma’a Tonga is in arguably the toughest of the World Cup groups with Pool B matches against Toa Samoa and the New Zealand Kiwis to come.

But Woolf understands the importance of this first pool game against the under-rated Scottish, who drew with New Zealand in the Four Nations tournament just last year and defeated Tonga at the 2013 World Cup.

“We know what to expect from Scotland – they have surprised us before,” said Woolf.

“We are pleased with the side we have been able to select, but that does not guarantee results.

“The team has had a good start to the camp in Cairns but we need to get our preparation right for Sunday’s game. These will be testing conditions in the heat of North Queensland.”

After the match in Cairns, the Tongans will move base to Hamilton in New Zealand, where they will face Samoa (November 4) and the Kiwis (November 11).

 

RLWC2017 | MATE MA’A TONGA v SCOTLAND BRAVEHEARTS

4.15pm, Sunday, October 29

Barlow Park, Cairns

1 WILL HOPOATE

2 DANIEL TUPOU

3 MICHAEL JENNINGS

4 KONRAD HURRELL

5 MANU VATUVEI

6 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA

7 ATA HINGANO

8 ANDREW FIFITA

9 SILIVA HAVILLI

10 SIO SIUA TAUKIEAHO

11 MANU MA'U

12 SIKA MANU (c)

13 JASON TAUMALOLO

Interchange:

14 SIONE KATOA

15 SAM MOA

16 PENI TEREPO

17 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

18 JOE OFAHENGAUE

19 SOLOMONE KATA

20 DAVID FUSITU’A

21 SAMISONI LANGI

COACH | KRISTIAN WOOLF

Not selected: Mahe Fonua, Tevita Pangai junior, Ukuma Ta’ai