Auto Poster Tui Lolohea fulfilling lifelong dream when tackling Kangaroos for Tonga in Auckland

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Apr 23, 2013
Tui Lolohea fulfilling lifelong dream when tackling Kangaroos for Tonga in Auckland

Last updated 09:12, October 16 2018


Former Warrior Tui Lolohea returns to Mt Smart for a long-awaited test, Tonga v Australia.

One-time New Zealand international Tui Lolohea will fulfil a lifelong dream when running out for Tonga in their historic maiden test against the Kangaroos in Auckland on Saturday.

The former Warriors utility made his Kiwis debut in 2015 but switched back to represent Tonga in international league and played a key role at five-eighth in Tonga's successful World Cup campaign last year.

The 23-year-old is set for another appearance at Mt Smart Stadium when Tonga tackle Australia in front of an expected capacity crowd that will likely replicate the phenomenal atmosphere Tongan fans created during their run to the World Cup semi-finals.

Tui Lolohea was all smiles as Tonga trained in Auckland before facing the Kangaroos.

Lolohea, who left the Warriors for Wests Tigers last year, is thrilled at the prospect of realising a long-time dream of coming up against the world champion Kangaroos side, who suffered a surprise 26-24 defeat to the Kiwis last Saturday.

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"It's kind of like a dream. I've always wanted to play against Aussie, growing up you know they were the best team in the world and I just want to play against them. At the age of 23 I finally get the opportunity," he told One News.

Lolohea was a key part of Tonga's run to the World Cup semi-finals last year.

Lolohea scored a pivotal intercept try in Tonga's stunning 28-22 win over New Zealand during the pool stages of last year's World Cup and he said they could certainly take confidence from the way Kiwis dominated Australia in Auckland last weekend.

"Seeing that there are some weaknesses in their team, we can capitalise on those. We're going to have to wait and see how it unfolds and where those opportunities are."

Tonga have never played a test against Australia but they came awfully close to facing the Kangaroos in the World Cup final, but England prevailed 20-18 in their enthralling semi-final in Auckland last November.

Lolohea will not be playing in the NRL next year after opting to take up a three-year contract with English Super League club Leeds Rhinos from 2019.

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