Moimoi, Tuiaki cannot play for Tonga - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Moimoi, Tuiaki cannot play for Tonga

By David Beniuk 10/10/2008 07:20:13 PM Comments (0)

Exasperated Tongan coach Jim Dymock has branded the Rugby League World Cup's rules a "joke" after two more NRL stars were rubbed out of his side a day after it lost Anthony Tupou to Australia.

Tonga's hopes were dealt another major blow on Friday with Parramatta prop Fuifui Moimoi and Wests Tigers winger Taniela Tuiaki both ruled ineligible to represent the Pacific Island nation.

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) said the pair could not play for Tonga because they had switched allegiance from that nation to play for New Zealand last year.

Tupou was named in the Tongan squad after originally being overlooked by the Kangaroos but an injury to Michael Crocker resulted in him being called up by Australia on Thursday.

"I think it's a big joke," Dymock told AAP on Friday.

"I just don't understand, after the World Cup everything all starts again. So why can't they just do it now?

"I just want that explained to me. What's the difference either now or after the World Cup?

"People want to see these players. If they're not playing for New Zealand or for Australia they're trying to help out the emerging nations.

"That's what they're trying to look at, internationals to be back where they used to be, strong internationals instead of these one-sided games."

RLIF rules allow only one application to change allegiance in any two years and Moimoi and Tuiaki both used that to switch from Tonga to the Kiwis for the 2007 tour of England and France.

Players can also pledge allegiance to a different country they are eligible to represent after a World Cup.

"I spoke to (New Zealand coach) Stephen Kearney and I'm pretty sure he would be fine with it," Dymock said.

"I don't mind the Tupou one, I can cop that on the chin."

Two Tongan players, North Queensland-bound prop Antonio Kaufusi and Warrington's Louis Anderson were given clearances by the RLIF.

Fiji's Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne, a former Kangaroo, and Samoa's Bulldogs half Ben Roberts were also given the green light.

World Cup general manager David Nissen said any special consideration for Moimoi or Tuiaki would have undermined the tournament's integrity.

"We didn't make the decision, the player made the decision," he told AAP.

"It would weaken our position as being an international body with rules in place if we were to do that.

"The international federation does have rules in place and, like anything, once you start to make variations to the rules then it is very difficult to keep tabs on the integrity of the rules."

Tonga emerged as the tournament dark horse on Wednesday when they announced a squad brimming with NRL talent, including six-Test star Tupou.

As well as Anderson and Kaufusi, their squad will include Parramatta star Feleti Mateo, Penrith speedster Michael Jennings, Sydney Roosters pair Lopini and Mickey Paea, Newcastle winger Cooper Vuna and Manly-bound giant Tony Williams.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news