Tonga international centre Samisoni Langi is set to play for France in the World Cup after qualifying to play on the residency rule.
The 28-year-old was born and raised in Australia but has represented Tonga on the international scene due to the family heritage ruling.
Langi has played in two World Cups for Tonga. He has been part of the Tongan set-up since making his international debut in 2013.
But he is set to switch allegiance ahead of this year’s World Cup in England. He now qualifies to play for France through the residency ruling. He is currently in his fifth year with French Super League club Catalans Dragons.
Langi said: “I was speechless when Laurent Frayssinous taught me my eligibility to play in the France team. It’s a real privilege and above all a great honour to be able to wear the blue, white and red. France has a special place in my heart.
“It is with great humility and emotion that I will wear the blue jersey.”
France have been drawn in a group alongside England, Samoa, France and Greece at this year’s World Cup. They will be hoping to do better than the last World Cup in 2017, where they finished bottom of the group having lost to Australia, England and Lebanon.
Langi reached the semi-finals with Tonga at the last tournament, where they fell short to England in Auckland.
Tonga coach impressed with NRL star Siosifa Talakai ahead of World Cup
Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has been impressed with Cronulla Sharks powerhouse centre Siosifa Talakai ahead of this year’s World Cup.
The 25-year-old has scored five tries in 11 NRL games so far this season as well as making six line breaks and eight offloads.
Talakai was born and raised in Australia but is of Tongan heritage through his parents. He has yet to play for Tonga, but coach Woolf has liked what he has seen of Talakai in 2022.
Woolf told Love Rugby League: “He has been going great. He is a terrific player and is very proud of his Tongan culture and Tongan heritage.
“Like a lot of players, his family moved to Australia from Tonga for better opportunities for their kids and he is certainly thriving on the back of that opportunity he has been given and is making the most of the talent he’s got.
“There’s a lot of players in a similar boat and you’ve only got to look across the competition. Guys like Kotoni Staggs, Moses Suli, Junior Amone, Keaon Koloamatangi – there’s a number of players who are going to add to that Tongan team this year.”