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'I'll bash Adam Blair': Hoppa

Wide World of Sports logo Wide World of Sports 3 days ago Melanie Dinjaski

John Hopoate reaction has come amidst the controversy created by Adam Blair © Facebook John Hopoate reaction has come amidst the controversy created by Adam Blair Former NRL player John Hopoate has threatened to "bash" New Zealand rugby league captain Adam Blair over his criticism of Jason Taumalolo and the North Queensland star's decision to play for Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup. 

Blair shared his disappointment about Taumalolo's defection in a frank interview with NewstalkZB last week. The Kiwi captain said he was "let down" that Taumalolo didn't notify the New Zealand team before making the shock announcement that he would play for Tonga. 

"You've got to be a man and own up to what you want to do," he said.

Adam Blair's criticism of Jason Taumalolo has not gone well with former NRL player John Hopoate © Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images Adam Blair's criticism of Jason Taumalolo has not gone well with former NRL player John Hopoate "If you were man enough, you'd make the phone call and tell them.

"He could have told them a couple of weeks ago because I don't think it was a last-minute decision.

"Obviously this was something he was thinking about doing."

After arriving in Tonga to help the team in their preparations for the Rugby League World Cup, Hopoate hit back at Blair. 

"Jase said he doesn't look too much into it, but I do. Who the hell is Adam Blair to come and say that," Hopoate, 43, told TVNZ. 

"What are they complaining about? He wants to come play for his heritage. And who the hell is Adam Blair? I'll bash Adam Blair, I don't care, I'll bash him."

Hopoate's son Will is in Tonga's squad for the rugby league tournament. The team will also feature former Kangaroos Andrew Fifita and Michael Jennings. 

Taumalolo isn't reading too much into Blair's comments © Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images Taumalolo isn't reading too much into Blair's comments "It's wrong, he's [Taumalolo] playing for his heritage," Hopoate said.

"I'm sure if they were from Samoa and playing for New Zealand and they want to go back, I'm sure they wouldn't be saying the same thing. I think he's [Blair] wrong.

"Saying he should've rang... it was a hard decision for him. He's missing out on a lot of money here.

"He wanted to do it for his heritage, where he come from, and I applaud him for doing it. I don't really give a crap what they think, I'm just worried about my team, the Tongan team."

Hopoate took up professional boxing after his 209-game NRL career came to an end in 2005, leaving a legacy as one of league's most controversial players. In 2008 he became the Australian heavyweight boxing champion. His opponent Bob Mirovic called out the former footballer for a "dog act", an illegal shove that broke Mirovic's arm in the bout. 

Hopoate is currently serving an 18-month good behaviour bond after being charged and pleading guilty to common assault on a Crows Nest supermarket worker in May 2016.

The former Manly Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers player represented Tonga in one game in 1994, and later scored three tries in two caps playing for the Kangaroos in 1995.

"Everyone's entitled to say what they want, but at the end of the day it doesn't bother me - I tend to leave all the talking on the field," Taumalolo told TVNZ in camp with the team.

"I wish in some way we could take the field soon, but I guess I'll have to wait until we come across them on the battlefield."

Tonga is in Pool B with New Zealand, Samoa and Scotland, with Blair and Taumalolo to meet on November 11 in Hamilton. 

 

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