Huddersfield wouldn’t block Tui Lolohea mid-season international call

Drew Darbyshire
Tui Lolohea Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson says they would not step in the way of Tui Lolohea if he was selected by Tonga for their mid-season test against New Zealand.

New Zealand are set to play Tonga in an international blockbuster at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on June 25 as the nations ramp up their World Cup preparations.

Lolohea, 27, has been a staple in the Tonga team in recent years. He was part of their historic wins over Australia and Great Britain in 2019.

And Watson, a big advocate of international rugby league, says the Giants would not hold him back from travelling to the southern hemisphere to represent Tonga in June for the mid-season test.

He told Love Rugby League: “If Tui gets selected for that, then that’s probably something that Tui will discuss with us.

“I like guys playing international rugby. It’s really important to play international rugby.

“I think it’s something that rugby league needs to be a little bit more set in stone like rugby union. That’s where everybody gets interested in the international game, especially the TV channels as well. It’s what builds the sport.

“I know over here we don’t go and get the NRL players for mid-season tests. Tonga may look at it differently because Kristian Woolf (Tonga coach) is over here. He might have somebody else run that game; but if he’s going across and if he’s taking some of the other Tongan players from over here, we won’t step in Tui’s way.”

Tui Lolohea international background

Auckland-born Lolohea made his international debut for Tonga in 2015. But later that year, he was selected in the New Zealand squad for their tour of Great Britain. He made a solitary appearance for the Kiwis against England.

But in 2017 he switched allegiance back to his heritage nation of Tonga, where he has since won 12 caps. He played a key role in their impressive 2017 World Cup campaign.

New Zealand and Tonga haven’t played since the autumn of 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PLAY: Our free Fantasy Rugby League competition is back for 2022