St Helens powerhouse Konrad Hurrell plays final game for beloved Tonga as he retires from international duty

Drew Darbyshire
Konrad Hurrell Tonga Alamy

Konrad Hurrell in action for Tonga in 2022 - Alamy

St Helens powerhouse Konrad Hurrell has called time on his international career following Tonga’s test series against England.

The 32-year-old centre won his 13th and final cap in Tonga’s 24-6 defeat to England in Leeds on Saturday afternoon, capping off a stellar career on the international stage.

Tofoa-born Hurrell made his international debut for his beloved Tonga back in 2013, going on to represent the Pacific Island in three World Cups.

Tonga have confirmed Hurrell’s retirement in a tribute via social media, whilst also thanking Will Hopoate for his efforts in a red and white jersey after the former St Helens man last week confirmed his retirement from the game following Tonga’s defeat at Headingley.

“From the historic feats of 2017 to defeating Great Britain and the Kangaroos in 2019, what a journey you have both achieved,” Tonga’s official page posted on Instagram.

“We thank you for everything you have given to our little nation and we wish you both all the best in your next chapter.”

Hurrell is contracted to St Helens for the 2024 season, whilst Hopoate left the Saints upon the expiry of his contract at the end of last season and has since announced his full retirement.

Will Hopoate: ‘What a ride it’s been’

Former NRL star Hopoate has brought down the curtain on a glittering 13-year professional career.

The 31-year-old was one of 11 departures from the Totally Wicked Stadium at the end of the season just gone.

Hopoate picked up his 13th and final cap for Tonga on Sunday, captaining Kristian Woolf’s side in the absence of Addin Fonua-Blake.

Over the course of his career, the centre – who has featured at full-back for Tonga – pulled on a shirt in the NRL for Manly Sea Eagles, Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs as well as Saints in Super League.

In addition to Tonga, he also appeared for New South Wales in the State of Origin arena.

Via his Instagram account, the Manly-born ace wrote: “What a ride it’s been. To my family, friends, and fans – thank you for your support! To all the teams I’ve represented, coaching staff, and especially my team-mates that have helped me learn and love this game – I appreciate you!

“To Ty @sportsplayermanagement who I‘ve been with from start to finish, thanks for all your help through my entire journey.

“To mum and dad, thank you for all the driving you did, sacrifices you made and smacks you gave, to get me to first-grade, couldn’t have made it without you, ofa lahi atu.

“And to you my wife, thank you for riding the footy roller coaster with me, holding it down at home and moving homes everywhere we have to support me.

“I was able to live my dream of being a husband, father, and footy player all at the same time because of you, love you.

“Loved every minute of this career I’ve been blessed with. Looking forward to the next chapter. Thank you rugby league.”

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