Fifita quits Kangaroos to play for Tonga

Thursday, 05 October 2017, 06:02:06 PM. Andrew Fifita opts to play for Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup despite being named in Australia's squad earlier this week.

fifita-quits-kangaroos-to-play-for-tonga photo 1 Photo: Andrew Fifita has played seven times for Australia, but will sport Tongan colours at the RLWC. (AAP: Craig Golding)

Andrew Fifita has turned his back on Australia for the Rugby League World Cup, joining New Zealand star Jason Taumalolo in defecting to Tonga.

Star Cronulla forward Fifita was named in Mal Meninga's Kangaroos squad this week but told the coach of his decision this morning.

In snubbing short-priced favourites Australia, Fifita is turning down a potential $50,000 pay cheque for winning the World Cup, with Tonga players expected to take home just $3000 for their participation.

"Andrew called me and said he was passionate about playing for Tonga and I respect and support that decision," Meninga said in a statement.

"It is obviously a significant boost for Tonga as well as the World Cup — and international rugby league in general."

The New South Wales representative has played seven times for Australia.

Penrith forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard has been called into the Kangaroos squad.

"It is also a great opportunity for someone like Reagan, who has been outstanding for the Panthers," Meninga said.

"I'm extremely excited about seeing Reagan in a Kangaroos jersey."

Powerhouse forward Taumalolo announced his defection to Tonga on Wednesday despite playing his past 10 Tests for the Kiwis.

News Corp reports up to seven other players could snub New Zealand to represent Tonga at the World Cup in October-November.

The Tongan squad will be announced today.


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