Dual-international Tuqiri a Kangaroo again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dual-international Tuqiri a Kangaroo again

19/10/2010 06:48:17 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri is back in the representative rugby league arena, after being called into Australia's Four Nations squad to replace the injured Jarryd Hayne.

If Tuqiri can now win a jersey in one of the tournament's matches, he'll become the first dual-international in history to go from playing for the Kangaroos, then the Wallabies and back to the Kangaroos again.

Australia play Papua New Guinea this Sunday, and then face England and New Zealand, and should Tuqiri get a run he'll be the first player since Scott Gourley to go from rugby union international to rugby league Test representative.

At 31 years of age, Tuqiri has the chance to go one better than former Brisbane Broncos team-mate Brad Thorn, who went from Kangaroos star, to All Black, to Queensland Origin representative and then back to the New Zealand rugby team.

"It's not too bad, to play for the Kangaroos, to play for the Wallabies and now back hopefully to get a jersey over this tournament," he said.

"I got a `tweet' on Twitter this morning saying you might be a tri-international or something, so that was pretty funny.

"It's still ahead of me, I've still got to get on the field, but I've got to this step now and I don't know how to feel.

"It's a great honour, but it's not something you look at until you finish."

Tuqiri said he was excited to receive the call up from Tim Sheens on Tuesday, after Hayne was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

It caps a spectacular return to rugby league for Tuqiri, after he was controversially sacked by the Australian Rugby Union in 2009.

He admitted he wanted to prove himself in league after his unceremonious exit from union.

"Probably subconsciously ... but I've moved on," he said.

"I always had confidence in my ability. I didn't come back to have a holiday.

"I knew I had a lot to give and I'm reaping the rewards.

"I'm playing alright, and played in a good team this year ... so it's been a pretty memorable year for myself.

"The coach texted me ... he said, `you're in mate.' That put a bit of a smile on my face."

The challenge now is for Tuqiri to prove to Sheens that he deserves a starting berth, with Brett Morris and Darius Boyd seemingly ahead of him at this stage.

Tuqiri's best hope for a start would be if Sheens saw Boyd and Brent Tate as centre options, leaving a flank open for the Fijian-born giant.

Sheens hasn't told Tuqiri what his chances of selection are, but Tuqiri is hungry to add to his five Test caps.

"I didn't come back to play rugby league to not make an impact and I want to play as many games as I can," he said.

"I'm very competitive, so there's a few outside backs and wingers in this squad and we'll all be vying for positions.

"There's going to be some disappointed blokes over the weekend and we'll just see where that goes."

Tuqiri's former Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said the winger's swift return to the international league arena was well deserved.

"His form has been outstanding all season and it's great to see that's been recognised with his return to the Australian squad," Bennett said.

"He is a quality player and a quality person and I am very happy for him."

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