The former Kiwi Test rugby league players Fuifui Moimoi and Taniela Tuiaki have failed in their court action to be allowed to play for Tonga against Ireland in their rugby world cup match tonight.
A New South Wales Supreme Court decision does however say the pair could play should Tonga reach the semi finals of the tournament.
The Parramatta forward Moimoi and West Tigers winger Tuiaki have previously played for Tonga but were deemed ineligible by Rugby League International Federation to represent them at the World Cup as they played for New Zealand last year.
International rules state players can only transfer teams once every two years.
But Tongan officials contended stopping the players from switching back to Tonga would be an unfair restraint on their employment after they were not required by New Zealand.
The ruling though says the pair may be entitled to play in the finals or semi-finals as those games are due to be played after November 12, which the judge said would be two years after they last played for Tonga.