24 Aug 2011

Tonga brings back former rugby captain after MPs petitioned

7:10 pm on 24 August 2011

Tonga's prime minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, has confirmed the country could face sanctions from the International Rugby Board following the World Cup in New Zealand.

This comes after a former captain, Nili Latu, who was left out of the team announcement on Tuesday, has now been added to the squad after parliament considered a petition pressing for his inclusion, signed by several hundred people.

The coach of the 'Ikale Tahi, 'Isitolo Maka, had wanted Latu in his squad but was over ruled by the board.

However parliament has now reversed that decision.

Its chair, Australian Bob Tuckey, had resigned at the weekend over the dispute.

The IRB had warned the Tonga government about political interference in rugby and the prime minister says the country could find itself shut out of some IRB functions as a result.