Israel Folau could make a remarkable comeback to international rugby next year, according to Tonga coach Toutai Kefu, who revealed that the sacked rugby star has expressed an interest in playing for the Pacific island nation of the World Rugby changes eligibility rules later this month. On November 24, the World Rugby Council will vote on a proposal that would allow players to represent a second country. Fans can buy Rugby World Cup 2023 Tickets from our website.
At the moment, a player cannot switch allegiances unless they take a three-year break and compete in an Olympic sevens qualifying event. Tonga did not qualify for the Rugby World Cup in 2023, but they had competed in the previous seven tournaments. Folau vs. the Wallabies in a World Cup would be a must-see.
Kefu told the Herald in 2019 that he would be interested in enticing Folau to Tonga one day, and that if that happened, he would be welcomed with open arms. Kefu stated I believe everyone would react positively. It’s a huge plus to have one of the all-time greats return to rugby. I’ll call him as soon as they make their decision on November 24.
When told that the date of the next vote, November 24, is three years to the day after Folau’s final Test, Kefu said: Perhaps there is some alignment there, maybe some supernatural intervention. According to Kefu, the regulation change would be extremely beneficial to Tonga, and he believes he could recruit six or seven players from different countries across the world.
We stand to benefit the most of any country, simply because we have a large number of players who have previously played for New Zealand and Australia and are now working in other countries, according to Kefu. Lopeti Timani, a former Wallabies back-rower, will make his Test debut for Tonga against England this weekend, four years after last donning a gold jersey. He had to qualify by way of the sevens.
When Tonga and England meet at Twickenham on Sunday morning, they will be hoping to improve on their 35-3 loss to England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 pool stages (2.15 am AEDT). We were pretty competitive until the last 20 minutes or so when our boys made some bad decisions and we became a little exhausted, said Kefu. The team selected to play this weekend is the most powerful we’ve fielded since the Rugby World Cup.
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