5 Oct 2018

Rugby League: Inspirational skipper cleared to play for Tonga

1:47 pm on 5 October 2018

The inspirational Tonga skipper Sika Manu has been cleared of a knee injury and will lead the Mate Ma'a in their historic rugby league Test against Australia in Auckland in a fortnight.

Coach Kristian Woolf is breathing a sigh of relief after confirming Manu in his 19-strong squad for their first Test against the world champions.

Just weeks ago, Woolf thought he would be without Manu with media reports claiming he had suffered a season ending knee injury playing for Super League side Hull FC.

Tonga captain Sika Manu and head coach Kristian Woolf.

Tonga captain Sika Manu and head coach Kristian Woolf. Photo: NRLPhotos

Manu leads a strong Tonga squad boasting NRL stars Andrew Fifita, Jason Taumalolo and Tevita Pangai.

"To be able to have Sika Manu in as a leader for this squad is a big plus," said Woolf.

"This group has shown a commitment to their country of heritage and we are pleased with the calibre of the squad we have been able to name.

"We realise there is a huge challenge ahead of us in playing the current World Cup holders, so we are extending every resource we can to give this challenge our absolute best effort."

Only one member of the 19-strong squad did not take part in Tonga's stunning run to last year's World Cup semi-finals - Manly's Addin Fonua-Blake.

Woolf also named two development players - Robert Jennings of South Sydney and the Warriors' Leivaha Pulu.

Tonga will travel to New Zealand next week for a pre-match camp in Hamilton.

Tonga squad: Andrew Fifita, Addin Fonua-Blake, David Fusitu'a, Siliva Havilli, Ata Hingano, Will Hopoate, Konileti Hurrell, Michael Jennings, Solomone Kata, Sione Katoa, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sika Manu, Ben Murdoch-Masilla, Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai, Jason Taumalolo, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Peni Terepo, Daniel Tupou. Development players: Robert Jennings, Leivaha Pulu.