Tongan league star Jason Taumalolo to 'leave the talking on the field' (Video)
Tongan rugby league star Jason Taumalolo intends to "leave the talking on the field" after his shock decision to play for the island nation over the Kiwis in this year's Rugby League World Cup.
The 24-year-old forward was one of a number of Kiwi-eligible players who decided to declare their allegiance to Tonga for the tournament, despite posing as the face of the Kiwis' campaign for preview images.
Taumalolo arrived in Tonga on Thursday to prepare for the World Cup, and told TVNZ "everyone's entitled to their opinions" about his decision to play for Tonga.
"At the end of the day I'm here to play for my country and I'm looking forward to doing that in a couple of weeks.
"I think I'm giving back to a little country and what the boys do for the country will go a long way to helping them in many ways and maybe in the future develop them as a rugby league country."
Taumalolo arrived in Tonga on Thursday - a day after the majority of the squad - after missing their initial flight.
Tongan coach Kristian Woolf told TVNZ the 24-year-old missed the team's flight to Tonga on Wednesday because there was too much weight on the plane. He arrived in Tonga on Thursday.
Both Taumalolo and 24-year-old hooker Siliva Havili were offloaded from the Wednesday flight.
"It's a funny one," Woolf said. "We all got through and got ticketed and everything else, then they decided there was too much weight on the plane a they had to offload a couple of guys."
The team were travelling to Tonga ahead of their Rugby League World Cup campaign. Their competition begins on October 29 against Scotland in Cairns.