Addin Fonua-Blake: Tonga captaincy ‘up there with highest honour I’ve ever achieved in my career’

Drew Darbyshire
Addin Fonua-Blake Tonga Alamy

Tonga captain Addin Fonua-Blake tackles England's Victor Radley - Alamy

NRL powerhouse Addin Fonua-Blake says captaining his beloved Tonga ranks as highly as anything he’s achieved in his playing career.

The 27-year-old prop captained Tonga on Sunday afternoon as they fell short to a 22-18 defeat to England in St Helens in the opening game of their three-match test series.

Fonua-Blake won cap number 12 for the Pacific Island, having proudly represented his Tongan heritage in last year’s World Cup.

The New Zealand Warriors front-rower was given the honour of leading his country by head coach Kristian Woolf ahead of their series opener against England.

“I’ve achieved a few things in the game but I hold this up there with the highest honour that I’ve ever achieved in my playing career,” Fonua-Blake said after their loss to England.

“To captain my nation and represent my family and the boys – I was just really grateful.

“Not many people can say that they have (captained their country) and when I was out there today I tried to lead as best as I could and the only way I know how to lead is through my actions and I felt like I did the best I could.

“Next week I’m going to try to get better and better and try to put everything I can in and do the jersey proud.”

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf delivers big praise on skipper Addin Fonua-Blake

Woolf, who has been the Tongan national coach since 2014, heaped praise on his newly-appointed skipper following their narrow defeat to England.

“Why I chose Addin as captain was for a number of reasons,” Woolf said.

“He’s been with us since 2017 and I know how important it is for him to play for Tonga and he’s always shown that it is really important. It’s one of the most important things in his life.

“You talk about attributes that you want a leader to have – one of the first things you want them to do is lead by example.

“He’s not necessarily a big talker, but he’s a very smart talker. I’ve dealt with players who are much bigger talkers and talk a lot more but he leads with his actions and that’s the most important thing.

“To go out there as a front-rower who hasn’t played for a number of weeks in the conditions today and play 55 minutes straight and come back out there in his last stint – I thought he did exactly what I thought he’d do and why he’s the captain – he led from the front.”

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