Lolohea set to start for Tonga

Tuimoala Lolohea of Tonga fends off Gareth Widdop of England.

Mate Ma’a Tonga head coach Kristian Woolf has selected his team to face the New Zealand Kiwis at Mount Smart Stadium this Saturday. 

Tonga will have four debutants in their team, including match starters Cowboys’ five-eighth John Asiata and Broncos’ centre Kotoni Staggs. 

Manly hooker Manase Fainu and Roosters’ back rower Sitili Tupouniua will make their debuts for Tonga from the interchange bench. 

Sharks’ prop Andrew Fifita has been named to start in the front row pending an NRL judiciary hearing tonight. 

The Tongan pack will again be bolstered by the experience of Jason Taumalolo, Manu Ma’u and Sio Siua Taukeiaho. 

Taumalolo said the Tongan crowd which is expected to turn up in huge numbers would lift the team. 

“The Tongan crowd really lift us and make us play harder,” he said. 

“When we hear the Tongan supporters cheering or singing hymns it gives the players an extra burst of energy. 

“We can’t wait to see all the fans turn out for us at Mount Smart Stadium when we face the Kiwis.” 

MATE MA’A TONGA TEST TEAM 

1. Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs) 
2. Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters) 
3. Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos) 
4. Solomone Kata (New Zealand Warriors) 
5. David Fusi’tua (New Zealand Warriors) 
6. John Asiata (North Queensland Cowboys) 
7. Tuimoala Lolohea (Leeds Rhinos) 
8. Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks) 
9. Siliva Havili (Canberra Raiders) 
10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters) 
11. Tevita Pangai Junior (Brisbane Broncos) 
12. Manu Ma’u (Parramatta Eels) 
13. Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys) 

Interchange: 

14. Manase Fainu (Manly Sea Eagles) 
15. Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Sea Eagles) 
16. Peni Terepo (Parramatta Eels) 
17. Sitili Tupouniua (Sydney Roosters) 
18. Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers) 
19. Tevita (Junior) Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs) 
Coach: Kristian Woolf