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Frizell bolsters Tonga pack after withdrawal of Taumalolo

NSW Origin forward Tyson Frizell will bolster a Tonga squad of hardened international players and NRL young guns for the historic Test series against England.

Tonga will become the first Pacific nation to play a full three-Test series against England and Frizell will join a forward pack already brimming with big names, including Addin Fonua-Blake, Felise Kaufusi, Moeaki Fotuaika, Keaon Koloamatangi, Tevita Tatola and Haumole Olakau’atu.

Jason Taumalolo is a notable absentee but Kristian Woolf has still been able to choose a strong squad, with Frizell, Storm strike forward Eliesa Katoa and Sydney Roosters second-rower Suia Wong among the new faces.

Frizell, who played five Tests for Wales in 2011 and 2013, has a Welsh father and Tongan mother. 

The Knights second-rower has played 16 Tests for Australia and made 16 Origin appearances for NSW.

Tyson Frizell played for Australia in the 2019 Test loss to Tonga
Tyson Frizell played for Australia in the 2019 Test loss to Tonga ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Tonga will also contain plenty of talent and speed in the backline.

Playmakers Tuimoala Lolohea, Will Hopoate and Isaiya Katoa are in the team, while outside backs Konrad Hurrell, Tolutau Koula, Will Penisini, Mosese Suli and Daniel Tupou will be dangerous weapons in attack.

The Tonga squad also includes some new names that have established themselves as true NRL players this season including Eliesa Katoa, Hame Sele and Starford Toa.

Taumalolo and fellow stalwart Sio Siau Taukieaho, as well as David Fifita, Sione Katoa and Dallin Watene Zelezniak, are all unavailable for the tour due to either off-season surgeries or being ruled medically unfit by their clubs.

Woolf said the team to play England included players that had previously done the job for Tonga as well as some exciting new names.

Match Highlights: Tonga v Samoa

“This squad is a strong mix of both players who have shown their passion and skill for Tonga previously, and a few new faces that have underlined their promise with their form in the NRL this season,” Woolf said.

“The inclusion of players like Addin Fonua-Blake, Will Hopoate and Felise Kuafusi and the addition of Tyson Frizell to a Tongan squad for the first time will give us a great base.

“But this is also a Tongan squad for the future, and we are going to give some of our impressive young players a chance to show their talents on the international stage.”

The Tongan team will go into camp at Redcliffe this weekend before flying out for England next week.

The series gets underway at St Helens on October 22 followed by Tests at Huddersfield on October 28 and Leeds on November 4.

Tonga squad to tour England

  • Latu Fainu (Sea Eagles)
  • Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors)
  • Moeaki Fotuaika (Titans)
  • Tyson Frizell (Knights)
  • Siliva Havili (Rabbitohs)
  • William Hopoate (St Helens)
  • Konrad Hurrell (St Helens)
  • Isaiya Katoa (Dolphins)
  • Eliesa Katoa (Storm)
  • Felise Kaufusi (Dolphins)
  • Keaon Koloamatangi (Rabbitohs)
  • Tolutau Koula (Sea Eagles)
  • Tuimoala Lolohea (Huddersfield Giants)
  • Haumole Olakau’atu (Sea Eagles)
  • Will Penisini (Eels)
  • Hame Sele (Rabbitohs)
  • Mosese Suli (Dragons)
  • Tevita Tatola (Rabbitohs)
  • Dion Teaupa (Rabbitohs)
  • Starford To'a (Wests Tigers)
  • Daniel Tupou (Roosters)
  • Siua Wong (Roosters)
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