Jason Taumalolo has made a decision to turn his back on New Zealand to represent Tonga at the World Cup, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The Daily Telegraph says three other players with the same split status will be named by Tonga on Thursday, along with Titans back Konrad Hurrell, who has never represented the Kiwis.
Widely considered the best forward in the world, the 24-year-old Taumalolo was born in Auckland with Tongan ancestry and has thrice played for Mate Ma'a.
New Zealand play Tonga on November 11 at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium, which will pit Taumalolo against his former Kiwi teammates.
In a written statement, the 2016 Dally M Medal victor justified his decision by declaring his wish to develop rugby league in the Polynesian country.
"I see with the new global rule change an opportunity to represent both Tonga and NZ throughout my career", he said.
Jason Taumalolo in action for the Kiwis.
The pair were suspended from the World Cup after they were caught on CCTV allegedly buying cocaine from a man in Canberra following a drinking binge in the hours after the Kiwis' Anzac Test loss to Australia in May.
"I really enjoyed my time within the Tongan World Cup squad last time. and I just feel the World Cup provides developing nations like Tonga an opportunity to play on the big stage and I would like to help them with their campaign", he said.
Kieran Foran and Tohu Harris are known absentees too, leaving Kidwell with a seriously weakened squad ahead of the sport's biggest global event.
Five-eighth Kieran Foran will also sit out the tournament with injury.
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