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Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has picked several new faces in his squad to face New Zealand in Auckland next Saturday.
Woolf has named a 22-man squad of players mainly from the NRL, with Tonga’s 2017 World Cup halfback Tuimoala Lolohea in line to travel from English Super League club Leeds to play in the historic Test at Mt Smart Stadium.
Cowboys utility 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.
World Cup representatives Mahe Fonua (foot) and Ata Hingano (thumb) were in the preliminary squad but are unavailable due to injury.
“We have had a good core of players for the Mate Ma’a Tonga team since the 2017 World Cup and we have been able to add some more depth this year,” Woolf said.
“It is going to be a huge occasion coming up against the Kiwis on their home turf at Mt Smart Stadium.
“I know these players and the wonderful Tongan fans are already excited for the event, and this squad will give us every opportunity to perform well in the Test.”
The final Mate Ma’a Tonga team to face New Zealand will be named after this weekend’s NRL round concludes.
In alphabetical order
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).
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