Former Wallaby Timani in Tongan squad for northern tour

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Lopeti Timani in action during the Wallabies captain's run at Twickenham on 17 November 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Lopeti Timani in action during the Wallabies captain's run at Twickenham on 17 November 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan

Former Wallabies flanker Lopeti Timani was named on Thursday in the Tonga team for their upcoming northern tour to play Scotland, England, the French Barbarians and Romania.

Tongan-born Timani, a loose forward, played 12 matches for Australia in 2016 and is currently with the French club Toulon.

He became eligible to switch countries at Test level after representing Tonga in Sevens at an Olympics qualifying tournament earlier this year.

He is one of 10 new faces in the squad of 40 which also includes Perpignan wing Afusipa Taumoepeau who previously played Super Rugby for both the ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels.

Former All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa also played in the Sevens tournament to meet the criteria to change countries but missed selection after suffering a shoulder injury last month while playing for Wasps in the English Premiership.

The Tonga squad has been drawn from teams in 10 countries with most of them based in Europe as Covid-19 travel restrictions made it difficult to include players from Australia and New Zealand.

Tonga Rugby Union chief executive Peter Harding said coach Toutai Kefu and manager Lano Fonua had done "a great job putting this squad together" although not all players would be available for selection for all four matches.

There may yet be changes depending on flights, managed isolation arrangements and contract negotiations, and the Scotland fixture was outside the release window.

"This has taken some negotiation with clubs, undertaken by Toutai and Lano, and this has to date been successful," Harding said.

"Clubs have been good to deal with and I want to thank the French Rugby Federation for their assistance."

Kefu will not travel with the team as he continues his recovery after being stabbed by intruders at his Brisbane home in August.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Should Proteas star Quinton de Kock continue playing at the T20 World Cup even if he doesn't take the knee in support of the fight against racism?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes! He should be allowed to show his support any way he chooses
38% - 1839 votes
No! If De Kock refuses to unite with his teammates, then he should be on the next plane home
12% - 581 votes
The only ones at fault here are Cricket SA, who have sabotaged another Proteas World Cup
50% - 2376 votes