There is no Israel Folau in the ‘Ikale Tahi’s Rugby World Cup 32-member squad list released by the Tonga Rugby Union in Nuku’alofa on Monday night.
Folau, a former star for the Wallabies, has not recovered from a knee injury that has kept him out of action since playing for Tonga against Australia A in early July.
Outside back Telusa Veainu (hamstring) has also been ruled out.
But former All Black midfielder George Moala (below), who has been suspended by World Rugby for five games for a red card offence, is in the squad.
Fellow former All Blacks Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa and Vaea Fifita are also in the squad.
Two former Wallabies, Augustine Pulu and Adam Coleman are included although Coleman is yet to represent the ʻIkale Tahi at Test level.
Head coach Toutai Kefu is due to name one more player to complete the 33-member squad.
That is expected to be Halaleva Fifita, who left the squad before the Canada test series earlier this month for club rugby in France.
Kefu is excited to lead his troops into the World Cup where they will be competing in Pool B against defending champions South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Romania.
“This is the squad that will be taking us to the 2023 Rugby World Cup,” he said.
“It is a squad I’m very proud to coach and I know all the players are proud to represent their families and all Tongans around the globe with pride.
“Unfortunately a couple of our brothers, Isileli Folau and Telusa Veainu, won’t be joining us due to existing injuries. George Moala, with the reduction of his suspension to five weeks, will be able to join the squad mid-campaign.”
Tonga’s opening match is against Ireland in Nantes on September 16 local time.
Tonga Rugby World Cup squad:
Forwards: Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Sione Havili Talitui, Vaea Fifita, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Fe’ao Fotuaika, Solomone Funaki, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Tau Koloamatangi, Paula Latu, Sam Lousi, Steve Mafi, Siua Maile, Samiuela Moli, Paula Ngauamo, Semisi Paea, Ben Tameifuna, Sione Vailanu
Backs: Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, William Havili, Fine Inisi, Solomone Kata, Otumaka Mausia, Manu Paea, Salesi Piutau, Augustine Pulu, Sonatane Takulua, Kyren Taumoefolau, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Anzelo Tuitavuki
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS