Jason Taumalolo, (left), and Siosiua Taukeiaho during the 2017 World Cup Photo: RLIF

Despite their performance in the Rugby Nines, Jason Taumālolo remains optimistic about the team’s future.

He said today that he was looking forward to Tonga’s upcoming Test matches against Great Britain and Australia.

A 21-man Tonga Invitational squad will play test matches against the British Lions in Hamilton on October 26, followed by the Kangaroos in Auckland on November 2.

Taumālolo’s comments come after a disastrous showing at the Rugby Nines which left Tonga’s Invitational side at the bottom of the Pool C rankings, with the Cook Islands at the top.

Tonga’s performance in the Rugby  Nines will have come as a shock to many fans, but the reality is that the political infighting surrounding the Tongan team meant they barely had time to train with returned coach Kristian Woolf until almost the last minute.

The fact that so many important players only agreed to take the field at the last moment will also have been a factor.

It would also be hard to think that the team has not  been unsettled by the threats of legal action by disgruntled members of the suspended TRNL management.

The Tongan Invitation side went down 30-7 to the Cook Islands on Friday and yesterday lost to Samoa 20-24, but beat Fiji 21-17.

Samoa was on a winning streak during the Nines, downing Fiji 32-17, the Cook Islands 17-4 and knocking out Tonga before going down 25-8 to Australia.

For Tonga The Cook Islands victory was unexpected, the margins against Samoa and Fiji more in line with what might have been expected.

However, it was a far cry from the predictions made earlier in the week, when Andrew Fifita  said Tonga wanted to be the world’s  best.

“I know we’re capable of doing that. We’re quite excited to prove ourselves,” he said.

“Now it’s time to step up with the tier-one.”

Fifita did  not play in the debacle against the low rated Cook Islands team.

It will now  be up to the full team to prove Fifita right when Tonga faces  the Lions and the Kangaroos.

The main points

  • Despite their performance in the Rugby Nines, Jason Taumalolo remains about Tonga’s upcoming Test matches against Great Britain and Australia.
  • His comments come after a disastrous showing at the Rugby Nines which left Tonga’s Invitational side at the bottom of the Pool C rankings.

For more information

Tonga look ahead to Tests after early 9s exit

https://www.nrl.com/news/2019/10/20/tonga-look-ahead-to-tests-after-early-9s-exit/

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