Discussion in 'International' started by deluded pom?, Mar 22, 2018.
Respect!! Let's hope the momentum is swinging now towards international footy rather than Origin!
If Fifita and the other JT come out and confirm, then we are onto something.
State of Origin may be considered the pinnacle but New Zealand international Kodi Nikorima believes Brisbane NRL teammate Tevita Pangai's decision to brush NSW for Tonga shows the international game may soon rival it.
Tevita Pangai Junior of Tonga and Sika Manu of Tonga celebrates David Fusitu'a's try for Tonga during the RLWC quarter-final against Lebanon at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Nikorima applauded Pangai's surprise call to ignore overtures from Brad Fittler's Blues and pledge his allegiance to Tonga this year after savouring a successful 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign with the Mate Ma'a.
Broncos prop Pangai was named in the 2018 Emerging Blues squad and enjoyed a strong NRL season start including a barnstorming display in their stirring last round win over North Queensland.
However, Pangai has quickly scotched any plans for Fittler to beef up NSW's front row after opting to stick with Tonga, which plays a Pacific Test against Samoa in June in a direct clash with Origin II.
Kiwi playmaker Nikorima hoped it was a sign of things to come after the goodwill created by the 2017 World Cup.
"They always say Origin is the pinnacle but I think now international sport is growing you will see that change," he said.
"For me it was a pretty easy (decision to pledge allegiance to Kiwis) - my heart and soul is with New Zealand and growing up I always supported them.
Tonga's Andrew Fifita and Tevita Pangai Junior celebrate Rugby League World Cup win over the Kiwis at FMG Stadium in Hamilton.
"It was easy to choose my allegiance. No doubt it was the same for Tevita.
"But it can be hard for blokes who are eligible (for both Origin and second tier countries) - hopefully this can help change that."
The likes of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita turned the World Cup on its head when they pledged their allegiance to Tonga last year.
But Nikorima hoped Pangai's bold call to stick with Tonga in 2018 despite a limited representative schedule persuaded others to follow suit.
Fifita is yet to decide whether he will stick with Tonga this year or again put his hand up for the Blues.
Pangai helped Tonga earn a shock 2017 World Cup semi-final appearance after being taken under the wing of Fifita and Taumalolo.
"I think we have seen over the years what a talent Tevita is," Nikorima said.
"What he has changed is being more consistent and doing things off the ball that you don't usually see - his line speed, his defensive work, it's second to none at the moment."
Pangai stood up to help Brisbane bounce back from a horror NRL season opening loss to St George Illawarra with a stirring round two triumph over arch rivals North Queensland last week.
Like I've said elsewhere...these players should knock the ball back into the QRL & NSWRL court and make themselves available for origin games 1&3...
And see what happens
Samoa v Tonga is strong enough on its own game guarantee sell even with no promotion. Pangai wouldn't play if he didn't think the game would have been worth it. Plus nsw sucking.
Aren't they allowed to pick both now (apart from the June 23 weekend when Tonga and NSW both play)
Or at least you don't have to declare for Australia to be available for Origin
Playing in origin is an honour.
They can absolutely put their hands up for nsw for games 1&3 and ask not to be considered for game 2..
Great stuff! I think the NRL were a little un-ambitious with the choice of venue for the Pacific Test. Lebanon, Samoan and Tongan fans could go close to filling Allianz if you throw PNG, Fiji & the Cooks fans into the mix also. Hopefully next year it is at the new Parra Stadium – it will sell-out easily.
They,the nrl,don't want it to be big...
We noticed that at the world cup
Andrew Fifita has also turned the Origin and kangaroos Jersey down for good... This is good news for international rugby and not for my samoan team that's gonna play Tonga lol
You've got to hope that these players are aware of possible developments that are not yet confirmed..
I can't think of any other reason that they would drop big match payments for a vague calender..
The Kiwis should be all over the Tongans next year; 3-match series at the end of the year in the diary already. It would be a cracking event.
I'm surprised they didnt play Tonga this year at all... You can sell out mt smart stadium easy with the Tongan team... Playing England mid year in USA makes no sense
It does when you realise the Kiwis are getting a guaranteed £500k a game for the next 3yrs. Throw in matches against the Tongans post-season and they’ll boost that bank balance further.
NZ don't want to play Tonga because they want Talmalolo back and the only reason he would come back is to get more games. NZ is hoping Tonga can't get games and lose their players. Maybe Tonga Samoa Fiji, PNG (and or Cook Islands) should organise a Pacific Cup in NZ at the end of the year with 3 double headers and a final? That would help their profile and hopefully the bank balances.
As well as a tour in England and France?
(I think France was confirmed)
Edit: Sorry just saw the next year.
If that’s true then NZ are cutting off their nose to spite their face.
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