Milford chooses Samoa over Origin as four players defect to NZ

Anthony Milford headlines the Toa Samoa squad. Picture: PHOTOSPORT

AUCKLAND, 18 JUNE 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – Anthony Milford is swapping maroon for blue after being named in the Toa Samoa squad for Saturday’s Pacific Rugby League Test against Tonga.

The 23 year old played in Queensland’s Game One State of Origin defeat against New South Wales earlier this month but will be unavailable for Game Two on Sunday after opting to represent Samoa.

Milford played in Samoa’s Pacific Test defeat by England last May but missed the World Cup due to a shoulder injury.

Manly winger Jorge Taufua is set to make his debut for Samoa, having previously represented Tonga, however four former Toa Samoa internationals have switched allegience to New Zealand ahead of the Kiwis controversial test against England in Denver this weekend.

Warriors winger Ken Maumalo, St George-Illawarra forward Leeson Ah Mau and Newcastle prop Herman Ese’ese were all a part of Samoa’s World Cup squad at the end of last year, while Bulldogs second-rower Raymond Faitala- Mariner played two tests for the Toa in 2016.

They’re among seven new caps in a severly under-strength Kiwis team.

Rabbitohs duo Robert Jennings and Junior Tatola are the debutants in the star-studded Tongan rugby league team named to face Samoa.

Fresh from scoring four tries in South Sydney’s hammering of Parramatta, Jennings has been selected alongside brother Michael in the Mate Ma’a Tonga squad to play for the Polynesian Cup.

Addin Fonua-Blake is the latest to switch allegiance from New Zealand while Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo have kept their committment to Tonga, alongside Sio Siua Taukieaho, Daniel Tupou and Tuimoala Lolohea.

Warriors duo David Fusitu’a (foot) and Solomone Kata (hamstring) and Broncos forward Tevita Pangai junior (ribs) were unavailable due to injury.

Coach Kristian Woolf will add two more players to the squad during the week.

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