Afoa eyes Kiwis switch for Tonga showdown

If the Kiwis come calling ahead of next month's clash against Mate Ma'a Tonga, Warriors prop Bunty Afoa says he won't hesitate to switch his international allegiance to New Zealand from Toa Samoa.   

While Afoa was at pains to state he cherishes each of his six Test caps for Samoa, he confirmed to NRL.com that he won't be following the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita in opting to remain with an island nation over a tier one team.

"I would take a Kiwi jersey with both hands," Afoa said.

"I have played for Samoa and am always proud to do that, but if the opportunity comes to play for NZ then they will get all my efforts.

"It's a great opportunity that a lot of kids dream about and work their butts off to get."

Afoa, 22, has put himself in contention for the opening game of the newly-formed Oceania Cup, having averaged 105 metres and 24 tackles across the first 10 Telstra Premiership games of this season.

Afoa said he has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of childhood idol Ruben Wiki in donning the black jersey.  

"I always dreamed of the Kiwis as a kid. Ruben Wiki was one of my role models I grew up watching, and he was always ruthless and aggressive for the Kiwis," Afoa said.

"I've never talked to Ruben about it, I'm a bit shy to ask… but he made me want to put the jersey on too and to feel that kind of excitement."

Warriors interchange forward Jazz Tevaga, a long-time teammate of Afoa's for both club and country, said he would be shocked if Afoa wasn't in Kiwis coach Michael Maguire's plans. 

"No one runs it as hard as Bunty," Tevaga told NRL.com.

"He's got to be in the mix. He's one of the best props when it comes to carting it off the back fence and he works hard in defence and is fit.

"I just think his fitness has improved a lot, he can go a lot longer, the work and those carries he is doing, not many can do that.

"I'd be surprised if he's not in the talks."

Meanwhile 12-Test Kiwi Alex Glenn has all but closed the door on his time representing New Zealand and praised the next generation of forwards coming through.

After his running battle with Isaiah Papali'i in Brisbane's 8-2 victory over the Warriors last Saturday, Glenn said it was clear the 20-year-old had a big future at international level.

"[Papali'i] is a strong talent, he kept turning up against us and his defence was really strong," Glenn told NRL.com.

"The way he is playing, he's still so young, he can only get better, and he's got a great support crew around him at the Warriors and will learn some great things.

"He's heading in the right direction for sure.

"The Kiwis are always on my mind, but I have done a few tours now and if I don't get picked then it's all good.

"I'm happy and my main job now is with the Brisbane Broncos."