North Queensland Cowboys and Tonga forward Jason Taumalolo has spoken for the first time after his decision to turn his back on the Kiwis for this year's Rugby League World Cup.
Jason Taumalolo playing for Tonga against Samoa
A dominant force in the NRL over the past two seasons, Taumalolo, 24, stunned the rugby league world with his choice to represent the nation of his heritage, rather than the one of his birth.
Speaking to News Corp, Taumalolo said that the thought of representing Tonga excited him, and he wanted to represent his family.
"Although I was born in New Zealand, the rules gave me the chance to go back and play for Tonga and my heritage."
Taumalolo also said that he has no ill thoughts towards any of his former teammates, amid speculation of a disagreement between himself and Kiwis coach, David Kidwell.
"If they have any ill-feelings towards me or see me as disrespecting the jersey, they're entitled to their own opinions," News Corp reported.
"I have no hard feelings towards them. That's just the way it is."