Can Tonga turn their golden generation into a new era of stars?

A group of Tongan men link arms for the national anthem

ABC Sport

A Tongan team sheet is eagerly awaited these days, but the most important names in Dean Young’s squad for next Saturday’s clash with New Zealand might have escaped your notice.

It wasn’t Daniel Tupou and Kotoni Staggs, because in the “Origin vs Test” discourse there’s almost always only going to be one winner: interstate football surpassed the international game as the pinnacle of the sport some time ago. Tonga will almost definitely get them for the World Cup, but not when there’s a blue jersey to be worn in Perth.

It wasn’t Moeaki Fotuaika or Joe Ofahengaue either, although they were important as well. The two props missed out on selection in the top 17 due to the quality of forwards available, a fair wrap given the two were playing…

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