FILE - In this June 25, 2016, file photo, Australian rugby union player Israel Folau, wearing tape on his wrist adorned with a cross, runs toward the try line to score against England during their rugby union test match in Sydney. The 30-year-old Folau will appear before a code of conduct hearing at Rugby Australia's headquarters in Sydney to determine the playing future of the star Wallabies ful
FILE - In this June 25, 2016, file photo, Australian rugby union player Israel Folau, wearing tape on his wrist adorned with a cross, runs toward the try line to score against England during their rugby union test match in Sydney. The 30-year-old Folau will appear before a code of conduct hearing at Rugby Australia's headquarters in Sydney to determine the playing future of the star Wallabies ful

Tongan PM set to end Folau’s league comeback

A letter from the Tongan Prime Minister is set to trigger an end to the high-profile player boycott of international matches - while also cruelling Israel Folau's desire to return to rugby league.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that the letter from the Tongan Prime Minister, Semisi Sika, will be presented during a RLIF board phone hook-up on Thursday.

The letter will include a demand by the PM for the current board, chairman George Koloamatangi and secretary William Edwards, be replaced.

It is through the current board that Folau has pitched his league comeback with Tonga.

However, it's expected Folau wouldn't be considered for selection once the current board is dismantled and replaced.

Stream every match of the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand on KAYO SPORTS. Get your 14 day free trial and start streaming instantly >

Folau was set to play for Tonga at season’s end. AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File.
Folau was set to play for Tonga at season’s end. AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File.

The influence of Mr Sika has emerged after the CEO of the RLIF Nigel Wood travelled to Australia last week and then onto Tonga where he met senior ranking officials, including the Prime Minister of Tonga.

Wood was determined to ensure that the entire Tongan playing squad of 30 including high-profile players including Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and Sio Siua Taukeiaho and sacked head coach Kristian Woolf - who is expected to be reinstated - are available for next month's International fixtures.

The letter from the Tongan Prime Minister
The letter from the Tongan Prime Minister

Wood received assurances of a change in board structure and it's expected that will be formalised in writing and presented to the board in a phone hook-up in the next 24-hours.

Last month, The Sunday Tele revealed the full-blown angst towards the current board with the letter that was sent to every major pillar of the international game, ­including NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, RLIF CEO Nigel Wood and the RLPA, the four-page letter obtained by The Sunday Telegraph offers explicit detail as to why the Tongan players want to boycott all upcoming fixtures.

Some of Tonga’s biggest stars had threatened to walk away from the team. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images.
Some of Tonga’s biggest stars had threatened to walk away from the team. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images.

It spells out the irreparable distrust between the Tongan playing group and their board of directors and includes claims that money set aside for the growth and development of Tongan rugby league has never been distributed.

Written on behalf of the entire Tongan playing squad and penned by co-captains Jason Taumalolo and Sio Siua Taukeiaho and senior players Will Hopoate, Andrew Fifita and Manu Ma'u, the letter written last month also calls for the game's ­figureheads' help to reinstate their sacked coaching staff.

"This letter is to state that we, the players representing Mate Ma'a Tonga, do not support the current TNRL Board of Directors led by Chairman George Koloamatangi and Secretary William Edwards,'' the letter reads.