NRL star forward Jason Taumalolo has opened up about his decision to play for Tonga instead of the Kiwis at this year's Rugby League World Cup.
Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys makes a break which leads to him scorimng a try against the Sydney Roosters at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville.
Taumalolo released a statement today saying he chose to play for Tonga for the development of the Pacific Island nation and to help their campaign ambitions.
"I really enjoyed my time within the Tongan World Cup Squad last time and have had a long time association with Tongan Coach Kristian Woolf," said Taumalolo.
"I just feel it's time to give back and hopefully I can assist and inspire young Tongan players to chase their NRL goals.
"I see with the new international rule change an opportunity to represent both Tonga and NZ throughout my career, I have and will always be proud to wear the Kiwis Jersey. I just feel the World Cup provides developing nations like Tonga an opportunity to play on the big stage and I would like to help them with their campaign."
Jason Taumalolo playing for Tonga against Samoa in Penrith, Australia in a 2013 Test match.
The Kiwis will also be without Melbourne Storm forward Tohu Harris and Bulldogs bound playmaker Kieran Foran, who have withdrawn from the tournament due to injury.
Tonga will take on the Kiwis on November 11 at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium.