Former Wallaby latest ex-test star to throw hat in ring for Tonga selection
Nearly three years after his last appearance for the Wallabies, Adam Coleman looks destined to represent to play at next year’s World Cup for Tonga.
According to ‘Ikale Tahi head coach Toutai Kefu, Coleman has signalled his intention to play Tonga after playing the last of his 38 tests in Australia’s 2019 World Cup quarter-final defeat to England.
That means the 30-year-old will become eligible to play for the ‘Ikale Tahi in mid-October 2022 thanks to World Rugby’s new eligibility laws, which allow players to change the country they wish to represent after a three-year stand down period.
Speaking to rugby.com.au, Kefu was excited about the potential new addition of Coleman, which would come just in time for this November’s test window.
“I approached Adam out of the blue a year ago and went the step further by sitting down with him in London about five weeks ago,” the former World Cup-winning Wallabies No 8 said.
“He’s very keen to represent the Tongan side of his heritage and experience a World Cup again. It’s a connection he feels strongly about.
“Should we qualify for the World Cup, we’d expect to put together a tour in November when players like Adam will be available to play against Tier One test countries to really advance our preparations for France.
“The rule change transforms the Tongan side… it’s a really exciting time for Tongan rugby” Kefu said.
Coleman has Tongan heritage and comes from good rugby stock. He is the son of former Tongan captain Pau’u Afeaki, while his cousin Inoke Afeaki played for Tonga in the 1995, 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.
Coleman might turn out to be an integral addition to the Tongan squad. His size and experience may be able to provide the set piece strength and strong go-forward Tonga requires in order to realise its potential with what should be a star-studded backline.
Israel Folau, another former Wallaby, has already confirmed his switch of allegiance to the small island nation, as have former All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa and ex-All Blacks fullback Charles Piutau.
Former NRL star and All Black Ngani Laumape is also interested in switching his allegiance to Tonga. However, he will not be available for the next World Cup as his three-year stand down period will expire just after the tournament’s final.
The Tongan squad will be announced this Friday for their upcoming Pacific Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers.
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