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Storm's Vunivalu named for Fiji debut

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/05/2017 Scott Bailey

Try-scoring sensation Suliasi Vunivalu will make his international debut for Fiji in Saturday's Pacific Test against Tonga, but his representative future remains unclear.

Under rugby league's dual-eligibility rules, players can turn out for tier-two nations if they are not selected for tier-one countries Australia, New Zealand or England.

Melbourne flyer Vunivalu's eligibility at the end-of-year World Cup has been a talking point for months, with the 2016 leading tryscorer remaining non-committal on which country he wishes to represent.

The 21-year-old, who is the NRL's equal-leading tryscorer with eight four-pointers this year, was born in Fiji, but moved to New Zealand as a teenager and is also eligible for Australia.

But the Kiwis revealed last month he had knocked back advances to play for them this year.

Fiji coach Mick Potter has named 16 players with NRL experience in his 19-man squad, including Brisbane forward Korbin Sims.

Meanwhile, Tonga have been forced to make a number of changes to their squad, as player eligibility, City-Country and Australian selection took hold.

Wests Tigers teenager Moses Suli replaces Manly winger Jorge Taufua, while former Warrior Konrad Hurrell comes into the centres for Michael Jennings.

Leilani Latu will start in place of Kangaroos-bound forward Andrew Fifita, while captain Sika Manu is now unavailable and unable to travel from the English Super League.

Former Australian and NSW forward Tony Williams also receives his second recall in the space of a week, coming into the starting side days after he played his first game for Cronulla.

In the night's main game, England have called in backline utility Kevin Brown as a replacement for their problematic five-eighth spot.

They first loss Gareth Widdop, then George Williams to injury since naming their squad a little over a week ago.

Their opponents, Samoa, have also lost David Nofoaluma and Isaac Liu to injury, with Canberra powerhourse Junior Paulo called in alongside Warriors pair Bunty Afoa and Ken Maumalo.

Elsewhere, 12-Test Kiwis international Alex Glenn leads a Cook Islands side made up chiefly of reserve grade and NSW and Queensland Cup players against Papua New Guinea.

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