Israel Folau’s desire to represent Tonga in a rugby league match has hit a political snag after the Tongan prime minister got involved.
Earlier in the week, it was confirmed that Folau had been registered as a player to play for Tonga in an end-of-season rugby league Test, even though the Rugby League International Federation had not given clearance for his selection.
On Tuesday, the Tonga players voiced their support of Folau’s inclusion despite widespread criticism against the prospective move.
However, the saga took another twist on Wednesday when Tongan prime minister Semisi Sika stepped in to stop Folau’s call-up.
Sika has reportedly has told the RLIF he does not support or acknowledge the Tongan National Rugby League board’s decision to push for Folau’s selection. He wants the board removed from power with the aim to appoint an interim board to oversee the national team and scupper the plans to bring Folau into the fold.
If the RLIF supports the Tongan government and refuses to acknowledge the current board, Folau’s proposed league comeback will effectively be over.
Photo: Jono Searle/Getty Images