Tonga captain Sika Manu retires from international rugby league

Tonga’s historic Test against Australia last Saturday was Sika Manu’s last game in a Mate Ma’a jersey.

The Hull FC back-rower has told his Tongan team-mates and coach Kristian Woolf that he will be retiring from international rugby league.

Manu, who played 14 Tests for New Zealand before committing to Tonga in 2013, decided to hang up his boots from the international game before the Test on Saturday but waited until after the game to tell Woolf and the players.

Woolf said: “I think he would have kept playing if his body could keep up with it all but I know just from the conversation I had with him that he feels like everything is in a good place, that everything is in good hands and there is some good leadership coming through in the group.

“Guys like Jason [Taumalolo], Will Hopoate and Siosiua Taukeiaho are real emerging leaders and he thinks that they can continue to take everything forward so it is the right time to step aside and let someone else do it.

“He is a terrific leader, he has been the captain of the Tonga team since 2014 and he was one of the first ones, who was still on the cards of playing for New Zealand, who decided he wanted to play for Tonga while he was still at his best.

“He was there during some really lean times, I guess, when things were a lot tougher resource wise and player quality wise than what they are now. Sika was probably the first bloke to really lead Tonga rugby league out of that.”

Manu scored four tries in 11 games for the Mate Ma’a and represented Tonga in two World Cups.