Taukeiaho named for Tonga in RLWC semi

Tonga forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho has been named to start for the Rugby League World Cup tournament darlings in Saturday’s semi-final against England, despite a niggling knee issue.

The Roosters-based prop skipped last week’s 24-22 quarter-final win over Lebanon, admitting a previous cruciate ligament tear was flaring up.

But he appears set to slot back into the starting XIII in Auckland as part of a mammoth pack including Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita.

“It’s coming along well, just been having struggles with my ACL knee, the one I did last year,” the 25-year-old Taukeiaho said on Tuesday.

“Just been having trouble with it at the moment but it’s healing well.”

Peni Terepo also returns to the side after an ankle injury, with Sam Moa and Joe Ofahengaue dropping out of the matchday squad.

Elsewhere, Mate Ma’a have stuck with the team that cut down the Cedars.

Tuimoala Lolohea and Ata Hingano will line up in the halves, Michael Jennings and Konrad Hurrell will start in the centres and Will Hopoate, Daniel Tupou and an in-form David Fusitu’a will make up the back three.

Sika Manu will captain the side from the second row.

“This week has been about just getting as much rest as we can, healing from injuries, preparing mentally and physically,” Taukeiaho said.

“Hopefully us middles turn up against a big forward pack for England.”

TONGA: Will Hopoate, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Konrad Hurrell, David Fusitu’a, Tuimoala Lolohea, Ata Hingano, Andrew Fifita, Siliva Havili, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Manu Ma’u, Sika Manu, Jason Taumalolo. EXTENDED INTERCHANGE: Sione Katoa, Peni Terepo, Tevita Pangai Jr, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Sam Moa, Manu Vatuvei, Joe Ofahengaue, Samisoni Langi.

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