15 Jun 2019

Sport: Former Samoa Toa player to represent Tonga

1:55 pm on 15 June 2019

A former Samoan international, John Asiata, who was named in the Tongan rugby league squad ahead of next week's test against New Zealand, says it will be an honour to don the Mate Ma'a Tonga jersey.

John Asiata will be part of a make shift halves combination for Tonga against the Kiwis.

John Asiata will be part of a make shift halves combination for Tonga against the Kiwis. Photo: Photosport

The North Queensland Cowboys utility has played twice for Toa Samoa but has an opportunity to represent Tonga next weekend.

The Australian-born 26 year old told Cowboys media he is looking forward to playing alongside his club team-mate Jason Taumalolo in the international arena.

"I ended up living with Jase [Taumalolo] and his parents and they were like family for me so to be able to play test football with him, it's gonna be an honour too."

"There are some great players in the Tongan team and a lot of them have created something massive within the international game and to be able to go and represent Tonga, it's a big opportunity," he said.

Getting Jason Taumalolo to play for the Kiwis rather than Tonga must be a priority for the new Kiwis coach says Tony Kemp.

Jason Taumalolo Photo: Photosport

John Asiata's Mum is Tongan and his Dad is Samoan.

His decision to play for Tonga was followed by a major coup for Samoa with former Kiwi prop Martin Taupau pledging allegiance to the Toa.

Asiata said he needed to get his father's blessing before making the switch to the Mate Ma'a Tonga.

"For myself to be able to make this decision was to get his blessing, to get his approval or his respect to be able to go over and represent the motherland of Tonga," he said.

"From when he gave me that decision and gave me the OK and said he would support me with whatever decision I make, it just made my job a lot easier."