Court will not allow Tongan pair to play - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Court will not allow Tongan pair to play

27/10/2008 08:47:14 PM Comments (0)

Tonga are set to play the preliminary rounds of the rugby league World Cup with a squad of just 22 after in-limbo pair Fuifui Moimoi and Taniela Tuiaki were ruled ineligible to represent the tiny Pacific nation before November 12.

Tuiaki and Moimoi will both be available for selection should Tonga progress to the semi-finals after a NSW Supreme Court judge Justice Richard White handed down his findings.

Justice White refused to grant an interim injunction which would have allowed the pair to take part in Monday night's clash with Ireland at Parramatta Stadium, that decision leaving coach Jim Dymock with just 22 players to choose from.

All participating nations had until their first match in the World Cup to nominate their final 24-man squad, though Tonga have been given until Tuesday morning - when Justice White will finish handing down the verdict - to name their list.

"Because the Supreme Court judge didn't finalise his decision, we're allowing (Tonga) until tomorrow morning to name their squad," rugby league World Cup operations manager Tas Baitieri said.

"Their application (for an interim injunction) was rejected and we're just waiting on the final legalities on details which we will have tomorrow morning."

Given the obvious lift Tuiaki and Moimoi would give the squad and the lack of depth in talented replacements at his disposal, Dymock's decision to go into pool games against Ireland and Samoa and a potential semi-final qualifier with only 22 players is a simple one.

Should Tonga secure a semi-final berth, they would most likely play Australia at the Sydney Football Stadium on November 16 for the right to progress to the final in Brisbane a week later.

Parramatta forward Moimoi and Wests Tigers winger Tuiaki were deemed ineligible to represent Tonga in the World Cup by Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) after the pair switched from Tonga to play for New Zealand last year.

RLIF rules state that players can only transfer teams once every two years.

Tonga's lawyers contended that stopping the players from switching back would be an unfair restraint on their employment after they were not required by New Zealand.

Justice White ruled the pair were free to play for Tonga after November 12 with that date signifying two years since they last played for the Pacific nation.

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