Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

'Will be pretty special': Tonga's ex-Wallaby on following late father's footsteps

By PA
Adam Coleman/ PA

New Tonga recruit Adam Coleman is relishing the prospect of making his debut against Scotland’s Jack Dempsey – four years after they went to the World Cup together as Australia players.

ADVERTISEMENT

The pair were both part of the Wallabies squad in Japan in 2019 but after falling down the pecking order in their homeland, they have taken advantage of a recent change in World Rugby eligibility rules to switch allegiance.

Glasgow back-rower Dempsey – who won 14 Aussie caps – pledged his future to Scotland, the country of his grandfather’s birth, ahead of the autumn series last year and has established himself as Gregor Townsend’s first-choice number eight.

Former London Irish lock Coleman, who played 38 times for the Wallabies, has now made a similar move by switching to the country his late father Pau’u Lolohea-Afeaki used to captain.

The 31-year-old is excited about the prospect of winning his first Tonga cap in Nice on Sunday after being named on the bench for the clash with the Scots.

“It’s a full circle moment for me and my family,” said Coleman. “The reason I started playing rugby was because of my old man so to wear the same fabric that he’s worn will be pretty special.”

Team Form

Last 5 Games

2
Wins
2
2
Streak
1
12
Tries Scored
19
0
Points Difference
-57
3/5
First Try
2/5
3/5
First Points
3/5
3/5
Race To 10 Points
3/5

Dempsey will be one of two familiar faces Coleman will encounter in the Scotland team on Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Jack’s always been a world-class player, he’s very explosive and a really good carrier,” he said. “I think both of us are pretty thankful to be back playing at international level. He’s really grabbed that opportunity with Scotland, fair play to him.

“I’m also playing against (Scotland scrum-half) Ben White, who was at London Irish with me, so there will be some familiar faces on the field. It will be awesome.”

Like Scotland, Tonga are going into their second World Cup match looking to get up and running after losing 59-16 to Ireland last weekend.

Assistant coach Zane Hilton expects a positive response from the Pacific islanders.

“We hadn’t played a game for a month before the Ireland game,” he said. “We certainly believe that we’ll be far better prepared this week because of the game we had against Ireland.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Ireland game hurt, there’s no doubt about that. We were extremely disappointed with how we played. We just didn’t meet the mark.

“But that game is gone now. We need to make sure we execute the areas of our game that we need to be successful and put Scotland under pressure.”

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

TRENDING
TRENDING 'You just can't do that' - Claims of foul play levelled at Etzebeth 'You just can't do that' - Claims of foul play levelled at Etzebeth
Search