7 Oct 2017

Kiwis captain hits out at Taumalolo

10:39 am on 7 October 2017

New Zealand rugby league captain Adam Blair has launcheed a withering attack on Jason Taumalolo for what he says was a betrayal of the national jersey.

Adam Blair on the charge for the Kiwis against Australia.

Adam Blair on the charge for the Kiwis against Australia. Photo: Photosport

Blair also accused Taumalolo of not being "man enough" to tell Kiwis coach David Kidwell of his plans to switch allegiance to Tonga for rugby league's World Cup.

Blair slammed star forward Taumalolo for failing to advise management of his move and was also highly critical of Warriors back David Fusitu'a -- who will be his teammate at the Warriors -- for the same late switch.

Jason Taumalolo also represented Tonga at the 2013 World Cup.

Jason Taumalolo also represented Tonga at the 2013 World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Blair said their switch was "shattering" because of his pride in the Kiwis jersey.

The 41-Test veteran said Taumalolo's failure to front teammates and management well in advance was unacceptable.

"You've got to be a man and own up to what you want to do," he said.

"If you were man enough, you'd make the phone call and tell them.

"He could have told them a couple of weeks ago because I don't think it was a last-minute decision.

"Obviously this was something he was thinking about doing."

Blair refused to believe a written statement from Taumalolo, in which the 24-year-old said he wanted to help Tongan rugby league.

Nor did he accept media reports that Taumalolo and others are unhappy at the World Cup ban placed on former captain Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor for disciplinary reasons.

Blair said nobody seems to know the motivation, with Taumalolo having given nothing away during a talk with Kiwis selector Tawera Nikau soon after the NRL grand final.

Blair believes Fusitu'a was committed to the Kiwis until recently and suspects he was lured away by Taumalolo.

"I heard he was still going to stay strong and play for New Zealand. Then half an hour before the team's announced, I find out that he's pulling out," Blair said.

"Obviously Jason's a big voice.

"He's our best forward in the game in the NRL, he's of Tongan heritage, and I'm assuming they would have spoken to each other and made a decision amongst themselves to do what they did."

Blair said he will find it hard to reconcile what the pair have done and is unsure about their future suitability to play for the Kiwis.

"At this stage, it feels like we've been let down a lot," he said.

"So do we let them back in the team?"

"You're going to have to find some way to be able to trust them again but does that cause issues and problems that we don't need?"