Three Eels named in Tonga squad

Parramatta Eels players Michael Jennings, Manu Ma’u and Peni Terepo have been named in a 22-man Tonga Mata Ma’a squad for the opening match of the newly formed Oceania Cup to face New Zealand in Auckland next Saturday.

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has named the three Eels in his formidable squad that also includes NRL Stars Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita, Sio Siua Taukeaho and Will Hopoate.

Tonga’s 2017 World Cup halfback Tuimoala Lolohea has been named and will be set to travel from English Super Club Leeds to play the clash whilst NRL players John Asiata, Manly hooker Manase Fainu, Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs Titans prop Moeaki Fotuaika and Roosters forward Sitili Tupouniua are the uncapped players in the squad.

The final Mate Ma’a Tonga team to face New Zealand will be named after this weekend’s NRL round concludes.

Tonga preliminary squad

  • John Asiata (North Queensland Cowboys)
  • Manase Fainu (Manly Sea Eagles)
  • Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
  • Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Sea Eagles)
  • Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans)
  • David Fusi'tua (New Zealand Warriors)
  • Siliva Havili (Canberra Raiders)
  • Tuimoala Lolohea (Leeds Rhinos)
  • Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs)
  • Michael Jennings (Parramatta Eels)
  • Robert Jennings (Wests Tigers)
  • Solomone Kata (New Zealand Warriors)
  • Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers)
  • Manu Ma'u (Parramatta Eels)
  • Tevita Pangai jnr (Brisbane Broncos)
  • Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos)
  • Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  • Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters)
  • Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
  • Peni Terepo (Parramatta Eels)
  • Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)
  • Sitili Tupouniua (Sydney Roosters)

The inaugural Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) Oceania Cup competition will begin this month and conclude in October and November and is part of an innovate new tournament which will establish a regular, meaningful Pacfici programme of fixtures which builds upon the success of recent meetings.

The tournament will be played in two pools with the winner of Pool A – comprising New Zealand, Australia and Tonga - lifting the RLIF Oceania Cup, and the winner of Pool B – Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea - lifting the RLIF Oceania Shield. The winner of Pool B will be promoted to Pool A in 2020.

2019 Oceania Cup fixtures

22 June
Pool A - New Zealand v Tonga, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

Pool B – Samoa v Papua New Guinea, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
25 October
Pool A – Australia v New Zealand, WIN Stadium, Wollongong
2 November
Pool A – Tonga v Australia, Eden Park, Auckland
Pool B, Samoa v Fiji, Eden Park, Auckland
9 November
Pool B – Fiji v Papua New Guinea, Rugby League Park, Christchurch