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‘Half their team are islanders’ - Tonga coach takes cheeky swipe at NZ Rugby over Pacific players in All Blacks

Former Wallaby and current Tonga coach Toutai Kefu couldn't resist a sly jab at New Zealand Rugby as it was announced his side will play a World Cup warm-up match in Auckland this year.

Tonga will play Fiji at Eden Park on August 31, the week before they take on the All Blacks in Hamilton.

On the same day, Manu Samoa will take on a New Zealand Heartland XV.

1 NEWS' Stephen Stuart suggested it was nice for NZR to give something back to the islands, to which Kefu replied: "I think so, since half their team are islanders."

A large number of players with Pacific heritage have represented the All Blacks, with the likes of Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu captaining the side. 

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Coach Toutai Kefu said his players draw strength from family and emotion, so are looking forward to a warm welcome when they play at Eden Park. Source: 1 NEWS

Kefu said the matches against Fiji and New Zealand would give his a side a solid build-up to the Japan tournament. 

Tonga have been grouped with England, Argentina, France and the United States.

"A tough bill," he said with a rueful smile. 

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The former Wallaby couldn’t resist a sly jab as it was announced Tonga will play Fiji at Eden Park in August. Source: 1 NEWS