The Kiwis captain Adam Blair and former captain Benji Marshall have taken a swipe at the North Queensland Cowboys lock since his decision, saying he’d betrayed the black-and-white jumper.Taumalolo says he chose Tonga to help develop the game there.He arrived in Nuku’alofa on Thursday for a pre-Cup visit, he gave short shrift to the likes of Blair and Marshall.”Obviously I’ve caused a bit of media stir and all that, but at the end of the day, I’m here to play for my country and I’m looking forward to doing that,” Taumalolo told TVNZ.”Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.”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.”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.”Taumalolo — whose arrival in the Tongan capital was delayed by 24 hours due to an overloaded flight — said he was doing his parents proud by playing for Tonga.Other players including Manu Ma’u, David Fusitu’a and Sio Siua Taukeiaho, have also elected to represent Tonga rather than the Kiwis, making them a credible World Cup contender.Tonga’s World Cup opener is against Scotland in Cairns on October 29, before matches against Samoa and New Zealand in Hamilton.
View comments In a fight that will pit the Team Lakay figure against one of Evolve MMA’s finest, Banario has is thankful that a close friend and former lightweight champion is with him and helping him to prepare.Former ONE World lightweight champion Eduard Folayang has been Banario’s training partner for much of his career and he feels thankful the Filipino MMA icon has been with him every step of the way.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’“I am extremely honored to have Eduard as a mentor and as a brother,” said the 28-year-old Banario who’s six years younger than Folayang. “A huge part of my success, I owe to him.”Banario once said that he’s not comfortable challenging his “kuya Eduard” to a fight but he is thankful that the man whom he treats as a mentor has helped him in every possible way. Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ LATEST STORIES Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Thai ‘dwarf giant’ boxer surpasses Mayweather record with 51st win Peza offers relief to ecozone firms “When I was at the lowest point in my career, he was one of the strongest voices that told me to keep going,” said Banario (13-6). “He motivated me and gave me hope, he’s like my older brother.”Banario held his title for less than three months after he lost to Koji Oishi in May of 2013 and that loss began a string of defeats that lasted through October 2015 when he suffered a submission loss to Ev Ting.Those losses, though, are behind Banario who has since mounted a five-fight winning streak.“Eduard has faced the best lightweights in ONE Championship and he’s at the top of the stack,” said Banario. “He was the champion, he still is in my eyes. To be able to train with someone like that, it only makes me a better fighter.”ADVERTISEMENT DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced FILE – Honorio Banario celebrates after his knockout win over Jaroslav Jartim. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netHonorio Banario has already proven that he can rise to the top of ONE Championship when he became the promotion’s first World featherweight champion in 2013.Banario, though, has returned to the lightweight division—his weight class when he was still fighting in the Philippines—and will now fight Amir Khan on Sept. 8 in ONE: Beyond the Horizon in Shanghai China.ADVERTISEMENT Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal