NRL superstar David Fifita reveals influence behind Tonga commitment 

Josh McAllister
David Fifita

David Fifita has discussed the influence behind his decision to commit his allegiance to Tonga for this year’s World Cup.

The 22-year-old destructive back-rower pulled on the Tonga shirt for the first time against France in a warm-up. He featured from the bench in their 24-18 victory over PNG on Tuesday in the World Cup.

Born in Brisbane, Fifita represented Australia at the World Cup 9s in 2019 and featured for the Prime Minister’s XIII that same year.

However, his inclusion was a major boost for Tonga ahead of the World Cup and says his decision to represent his heritage was for his dad, with some extra influence from cousin and fellow-NRL forward Andrew. 

“It feels good,” Fifita said after his first cap.

“I want to thank the staff first and the boys for picking me in the side. To represent my culture and my dad and everyone back home, it means a lot to me. Hopefully I get the opportunity again next week.

“I wore (the Tonga colours) when I was younger. It means a lot wearing it at the professional level. I’m grateful to be wearing these colours. 

“I was going to play the mid-year test, but unfortunately I did my MCL. Personally I had a couple of chats with Woolfy (Kristian Woolf) and the opportunity came at the end of the year and I had a really good chat with my father.

“I really love my dad. I think it’s just the right time for myself. I’m a young kid, so I’m doing it for him, for all my family and all the boys.

“I’m really close with a few of the boys in this camp. And to do it for my grandparents, to make them happy.

“My dad got teary when I said I’m going to play for Tonga. I know he’d have been watching this morning.”

Cousin Andrew’s influence for David Fifita

Cousin Andrew was a part of the team that made the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup with Tonga, losing out on a place in the final following a close 20-18 defeat to England.

David, who has made 84 appearances in the NRL, said he was inspired by Tonga’s journey at the last tournament and had Andrew calling for him to represent the nation.

“Andrew always wanted me to come on board (with Tonga),” Fifita said.

“I was 17 at the 2017 World Cup, so I was in high school still. To see what the guys did back then, it’s a real honour to be a part of it now.

“We’re really building. Hopefully we’ll stay together and keep moving forward.”

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