Former NRL bad boy and former heavyweight boxer John Hopoate has come out in support for Jason Taumalolo after his decision to play for Tonga over the Kiwis at this year's Rugby League World Cup.
Hopoate, 43, arrived together with Taumalolo in Tonga this afternoon where the team are preparing ahead of the tournament.
Tauamalolo has copped criticism from Kiwis captain Adam Blair and former Kiwis international half Benji Marshall for the timing of his switch to Tonga earlier this month.
"Jase says he doesn't take too much into it but I do," said Hopoate.
"Who the hell is Adam Blair to come and say that?"
Hopoate said the bigger nations like New Zealand and Australia normally get their way picking the best from the crop and are only now getting frustrated with players choosing to play for their heritage over them.
"They don't say anything when we name him in our team and that they were meant to turn up for a camp – they name him and take him out of our team.
"So what are they complaining about?," asked Hopoate.
"He wants to come play for his heritage and who the hell is Adam Blair?
"I'll bash Adam Blair I don't care," said Hopoate jokingly.
His son, Will Hopoate, has been named in the squad and will captain Tonga in the tournament.
"I don't think he is wrong, they were saying that he should of rang but it was a hard decision for him," he said.
"He's missing out on a lot of money here. I applaud him for doing it but I don't give a crap about what they think.
"I'm just worried about my team, the Tonga team."
John Hopoate played 209 NRL games between 1993-2005 and after his league career took up boxing, where he became the Australian heavyweight champion in 2008.