Tonga national coach Toutai Kefu has provided an update on the chances of Charles Piutau and Malakai Fekitoa potentially playing for Tonga.
The pair, who have played test rugby for the All Blacks, would be looking to exploit the Olympic loophole that allows a player to switch countries provided that they have played test rugby in three years. A player would then feature for the nation they wish to represent in an Olympic sevens event,
Kefu has admitted that they will struggle to find a way around Charles Piutau’s eligibility conundrum. Having not played for the All Blacks since 2014, Piutau has ticked the first box in order to be eligible for Tonga but the second box is proving more difficult as he also has to play for the Tongan 7s team at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Monaco later this year.
Kefu says that it is unlikely Piutau will be allowed to feature for the Ikale Tahi, due to his club commitments with Bristol.
“Him getting away for even a short period of time looks impossible, but we are still trying to have an open line of communication with the club,” Kefu told Pacific Beat.
Meanwhile, for Malakai Fekitoa, Kefu says that there is a good chance the Wasps star will feature for the country.
“Fekitoa is more likely to play than not to play, but he wants to do right by his club and we have always let the player have the right to say that as there is a lot of money at stake for the player and his family. But at this point we think Malakai is likely more than not and Charles is a very slim chance,” he added.