Israel Folau “will come into Tonga team” if playing good enough

Israel Folau will come into the Tonga team if he is playing well enough for Catalans, according to John Hopoate.

The 30-year-old has made a fine start to his time back in rugby league with Catalans, scoring one try in three games for the club.

Folau is a dual-code international with Australia but qualifies to represent Tonga via family heritage.

Hopoate, who acts as a team spokesman and culural leader for the Tonga team, told The Lockdown with Big Fiddy podcast: “If he is playing good enough, he will come into the team.

“He’s not going to walk straight into the team when we have just come off an Australian win. These guys who have stuck strong by us in the last couple of years will get the first opportunity.

“But if someone gets injured or Israel is playing too good that you have to pick him, then we will pick him.

“He has to beat these other guys that have been there before him and stuck their necks out for Tonga and said no to New Zealand and Australia.”

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