Marshall slams Taumalolo's Kiwis defection

Charlie Bristow,
Publish Date
Thursday, 5 October 2017, 10:25AM

Former Kiwis halfback Benji Marshall doesn't want Jason Taumalolo to wear the Kiwis jersey again.

The blockbusting North Queensland forward has switched allegiances to Tonga three weeks out from Rugby League World Cup.

Taumalolo's defection is thought to be in protest over Kiwis coach David Kidwell's decision to axe Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich.

Marshall told Veitch On Sport it's disrespectful to the Kiwis jersey and Taumalolo has made the decision for them.

"I don't think there'll be an overturn of that situation unless his beef is with the coach or the administration.

"But until he says that, he wants to improve Tonga from his point of view so he has to stick with that decision.

"Not everyone gets to [wear the Kiwis jersey].

"I just don't know what part of society changed where you think you have the privilege to be able chop and change and choose. that you can all of a sudden just decide, three weeks out from the world cup that 'I'm not playing'."

Marshall said it's a bizzare rule allowing players to chop and change between teams, designed to help out the smaller nations.

"It is an honour to wear the jersey and it doesn't matter what your excuses are, you shouldn't be allowed to just to-and-fro and choose 'ah I don't want to play this year but I'll play next year'."

The Daily Telegraph claims Taumalolo leads a group of eight players that secretly agreed last week to chose Tonga over New Zealand.

Expected to join Taumalolo in the Tongan team are Manu Vatuvei (Salford), David Fusitu'a (Warriors) and Manu Ma'u (Eels), who have all represented Mate Ma'a in the last two years as allowed under international rules.

Former Warriors playmaker Tuimoala Lolohea, Warriors centre Solomone Kata and Sydney Roosters forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho have already confirmed their availability for Tonga, despite previously splitting their allegiance.

They will be joined by Titans back Konrad Hurrell, who has never represented the Kiwis.

Catch the full interview on Veitch on Sport on Saturday afternoon on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB

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