Taukeiaho to play Cup with Kiwis or Tonga
Damaging Roosters forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho says he will definitely be taking part in end-of-year the Rugby League World Cup but does not yet know whether it will be for his native New Zealand or Tonga, the country of his heritage.
The former Warriors NYC star played one Test for the Kiwis at the end of his breakout 2015 season in the nation's three-Test tour of England. Earlier that year he had made his international debut for Tonga in the mid-year Pacific Test, but has not featured at Test level since for either nation.
"I'll put my hand up to play for New Zealand [in the World Cup] – It's a big goal for me," Taukeiaho told NRL.com.
"One of my goals was to play NRL, now I'm playing NRL and I want to make the Kiwis. If don't make the Kiwis I'll go play for Tonga but I always put my hand up for Kiwis so fingers crossed.
"We're in the same pool as well. You don't really know until you get the call."
Taukeiaho said that with mates in both camps, it was an unusual feeling not knowing which one he would line up for.
"We're mates off the field until we jump on the field and then start bashing everyone!" he laughed.
Taukeiaho said there can be a very different vibe leading into a match between two tier-one nations compared to the Pacific Tests. The latter, he said, were an exceptional spectacle for fans because while the preparation and game plans were less polished, the intensity and spirit shone through.
"It's a game that everyone loves watching. We don't get into details in that kind of game," he said.
"When Kiwis and Australia play they get into details, but with Tonga and Samoa it's all about smashing each other, who runs the hardest, who hits the hardest.
"It's all about competing against each other and I think that's what the fans love watching, two teams going hard at each other for the full 80 minutes. Afterwards we shake each others' hands and the boys have a few beers and just kind of enjoy the moment they had on the field.
"Once we get into our little huddle and do the haka it hypes everyone up and once we kick off the fans love it. We get a lot of supporters just to watch the Tonga-Samoa game. It's a good atmosphere, good for the Pacific Island community and the fans just enjoy the game."