Mann Cup: Former internationals named for Tonga NZ Residents

Hū 'a 'Epalahame Lauaki mo Tēvita Lātū he timi 'a Tonga' ki he teu tau'i ko ia e Ipu Mann 'i Sune 'aho 2. Vakai ki lalo ki he kakato 'o e timi'.

Former New Zealand and Mate Ma’a Tonga representatives Epalahame Lauaki and Tevita Latu headline the Tonga New Zealand Residents squad named to play Auckland on June 2 at Mount Smart Stadium.

In a decorated 11-year career which saw him play in both the NRL and UK Super League competitions, Lauaki was capped twice by the Kiwis and three times by his birth nation Tonga, while Latu amassed four Test caps between the two nations, with both players appearing at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

Joining the pair in the wider squad for the inaugural Upright Access Mann Cup are a host of players who have come through the Vodafone Warriors’ system, with prop Daniel Palavi, winger Saula Solomona and halfback Eko Malu all bringing vast experience.


Head coach Duane Mann said he had focussed on achieving the right balance with his squad.

“I wanted to make sure we had the right mix of youth and experience,” Mann said.

“Players like Soape Kavaliku, Epalahame Lauaki and Tevita Latu have been around the top scene for a long time and have given a lot back to club league in Auckland, and they join some really talented guys in their early 20s.

“Having those experienced guys around to promote the cultural aspect will also be important. It’s a huge part of this game, and whether it’s a Tongan, Maori or Kiwi team, culture is so important.”

Henderson Cars Tonga New Zealand Residents squad: Ma’afu Briggs (Marist Saints), Nicholas Halalilo (Mangere East Hawks), Richard Holani (Otahuhu Leopards), Soape Kavaliku (Glenora Bears), Tom Kavaliku (Marist Saints), Tevita Latu (Pt Chevalier Pirates), Epalahame Lauaki (Glenora Bears), Francis Leger (Pt Chevalier Pirates), Seiloni Liava’a (Howick Hornets), Sioeli Makaui (Pt Chevalier Pirates), Eko Malu (Northcote Tigers), Paea Manukia (Glenora Bears), Tevita Mikaele (Otahuhu Leopards), Ethan Nukanuka (Otahuhu Leopards), Peter Oliveti (Mt Albert Lions), Koli Oneone (Pt Chevalier Pirates), Daniel Palavi (Pt Chevalier Pirates), Paea Palu (Mt Albert Lions), Cyrus Payne (Marist Saints), Joseph Price (Mt Albert Lions), Troy Pulupaki (Howick Hornets), Trent Schaumkel (Northcote Tigers), Jonah Sofele (Otahuhu Leopards), Saula Solomona (Pt Chevalier Pirates), William Stowers (Papakura Sea Eagles), Dakohta Taimani (Mangere East Hawks), Akuila Tuha (Papakura Sea Eagles), Kruz Tupou (Howick Hornets), Toni Tupouniua (Marist Saints), Sione Tongia (Otahuhu Leopards), Dylan Uate (Otahuhu Leopards), Netane Vi (Mangere East Hawks).


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