Charles Piutau is excited at the prospect of Tonga possibly facing South Africa, Ireland and Scotland in pool stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, if the Pacific Island nation qualifies for the showpiece event.
Following the World Rugby Council’s groundbreaking approval of an amendment to the sport’s national team representation laws, which will now permit an international player to transfer from one country to another, the likes of Piutau, George Moala and former Wallaby Israel Folau qualify to play for Tonga at the next World Cup.
Tonga just need to win their next qualifying match – against an Asian qualifier likely to be Hong Kong – to secure a place at the World Cup, where they will be pooled alongside the Boks, Ireland and Scotland.
When told about Tonga’s possible World Cup opponents, Piutau excitedly welcomed the challenge.
“Oh yeah! That’s the first time I’ve heard that possibility. What great teams,” Piutau told Mail Sport Online.
“Hopefully it makes it more competitive, and allows us to kick on further in that tournament, whether it’s a quarter-finals or something.
“Being able to turn over a Tier One nation would add to the World Cup, and would be great for fans watching too.
“I’m excited to test my abilities on that stage again. An opportunity to play at a World Cup is something all players would like to be a part of.”
The 30-year-old, who won 17 Test caps for the All Blacks between 2012 and 2015, currently plays for Bristol in the English Premiership.