16 Oct 2014

Sport: Tonga's rugby coach says island players thinking harder about who they play for

11:51 am on 16 October 2014

The Tongan Rugby coach Mana Otai says Pacific Island players based in New Zealand are thinking more about representing their nations of heritage.

The Chiefs prop and former All Black training camp member Ben Tameifuna has committed to representing Tonga and was named in the 31-man squad for next month's European tour.

Otai says he may not be the last to do such a move.

He says Tameifuna is one of many players who are starting to think twice about their international commitments.

"What's the possibility of playing until 2019? Once you play test rugby for one of the island teams, you are opening up other doors to play professional rugby overseas and still be able to play test rugby for your country. That's something that some of these guys are also considering as well. Frank Halai for example, sevens players that have had one game and are constantly playing professional rugby out there and they're no longer playing test rugby."

Tonga rugby coach Mana Otai

Tonga rugby coach Mana Otai Photo: PHOTOSPORT