This would be great news at any time, but in light of the recent rumours that New Zealand are hoping to lure Jason Taumalolo back into a Kiwis jumper, it’s particularly big news for international rugby league.
According to Ben Dobbin on Nine News, Broncos forward Tevita Pangai Jr has knocked back the potential opportunity to play for both New South Wales and Australia, in order to pledge his allegiance to Tonga.
Pangai Jr reportedly made his decision on the grounds that it’s ‘the pinnacle to play for his country of Tonga’.
Hopefully the commitment of a young star like Pangai Jr will make Tonga an even more enticing option for other top players of Tongan heritage.
And in an era where some of the Pacific Islands’ biggest stars have turned their back on their homes and played against them (like serial turncoat Semi Radradra, for example), Pangai Jr deserves to be applauded.
Pangai Jr has played 34 first grade games for the Broncos, and – importantly – 3 Tests for Tonga.