Kite backs proposed dual-qualification ruling

Tonga captain Brent Kite has added his backing to the dual-qualification rules that are being proposed for the international game.

Although details of the proposals remain sketchy, they are believed to centre around a two-tier system, which would mean players who play for so called second tier nations, would still be able to represent the likes of Australia and New Zealand should they earn a call-up by a said first tier nation.

That could mean the likes of Australia pair Michael Jennings and Andrew Fifita, who both watched Kite and his team-mates beat Italy 16-0 on Sunday, turning out for Tonga in future, without risking their places in State of Origin.

Kite said: “The loosening of those rules is going to be better for the game. That way, we can encourage the young fellas that have dual-qualification to play for their country of heritage, whilst not missing out on those lucrative opportunities to play for Australia, New Zealand or New South Wales.

“It’s very lucrative for a young guy to play in those games, and it’s hard to ask them to come play (for Tonga) and pass up that cash.”

The future of the international calendar has become a topic of discussion in most of the post-match press conferences at the World Cup, and Kite believes more games against the big nations is crucial.

He said: “I’d love to see Tonga in a Four Nations competition. Maybe they award a place to the highest qualifying pacific team – that can only be good for international rugby league.

“I was hoping Tonga could get to the quarter-finals in this competition and show people that we’re coming along nicely and there’s a reason to play more games.

“Countries like Scotland and Tonga have given it a good go and shown that there’s a spot for rugby league internationally.”

Tonga rounded off their World Cup campaign with the win over Italy at Halifax, adding to their victory over the Cook Islands last Tuesday.

Ultimately, the narrow loss to Scotland in their opening game cost them a place in the quarter-finals, with Scotland going through as winners as Group C.

They will take on New Zealand in the last eight at Headingley on Friday.

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