RWC23: Glasgow Warriors star Sione Vailanu selected in Tonga squad

Back-rower in line to face Scotland in second pool match in Nice on 24th September

Glasgow Warriors star Sione Vailanu has been named in Tonga's World Cup squad. Image: © Craig Watson -
Glasgow Warriors star Sione Vailanu has been named in Tonga's World Cup squad. Image: © Craig Watson -

GLASGOW WARRIORS back-row Sione Vailanu has been named in Tonga’s World Cup squad, meaning he could line-up against Scotland in their second pool match in Nice on 24th September.

Head coach Toutai Kefu has named 32 players, with one more name to be added. The big omission is controversial former Australianstar Israel Folau, who has a knee injury, though he could be the name which is added at a later date.

The 34-year-old won his first cap for Tonga – for who he qualifies through a parental link – in 2022 after being fired by Rugby Australia in 2019 for making offensive social media comments about same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

Several other players who have switched their allegiance to Tonga since the introduction of World Rugby’s three-year stand-down rule also make the squad, including former All Blacks Charles Piutau and George Moala (despite the fact he is currently serving a five match ban for a dangerous tackle against Canada last month with the matches to which the sanction applies still to be confirmed), and former Australia second-row Adam Coleman (who is yet to represent the ʻIkale Tahi at Test level).


Tonga Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards: Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Sione Havili Talitui, Vaea Fifita, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Fe’ao Fotuaika, Solomone Funaki, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Tau Koloamatangi, Paula Latu, Sam Lousi, Steve Mafi, Siua Maile, Samiuela Moli, Paula Ngauamo, Semisi Paea, Ben Tameifuna, Sione Vailanu.

Backs: Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, William Havili, Fine Inisi, Solomone Kata, Otumaka Mausia, Manu Paea, Salesi Piutau, Augustine Pulu, Sonatane Takulua, Kyren Taumoefolau, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Anzelo Tuitavuki.

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About David Barnes 3995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Some good players in that squad – Fifita, Lousi, Mafi and of course Valiant all top class forwards and a few star names in the backs as well. A potential banana skin for Scotland so not to be taken lightly. Cant put out a 2nd string against this team as we will be able to get away with for Romania.

    • Couldn’t agree more. If we aren’t right on it they could turn us over and we are having to qualify for next RWC….and that would mean a really awful draw.

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