Kidwell, admits Taumalolo
apologised about how things went and he was pretty good to talk to and he said how happy he was for me to represent my country of heritage and said good luck and that was about it.”
The Auckland-born destroyer also dispelled rumours he had abandoned the Kiwis in protest of Kidwell’s decision to ban Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor, after they were caught using cocaine following New Zealand’s Anzac test defeat to Australia in Canberra.
“I’m totally behind Kiddy’s decision,” he said. “I don’t take drugs and I don’t condone it either so I stand by his decision.”
He came under fire again in the lead-up to yesterday’s match after refusing to speak to local media over the last fortnight since Tonga arrived in Auckland two weeks ago.
“I knew there’d be a lot said on paper and a lot of people talking and I didn’t want that to get in the way of my preparation.
“I took it as another game of footy, that’s all it was to me.
“Nothing’s personal to me. For those who know me I like to take everything as one big joke so I didn’t look as much into this game as everyone else did, thinking it would be a big grudge match.” While both sides did their best to hose down suggestions of lingering tensions over the last week, Taumalolo surprised the capacity crowd pre-game when he led the Tongan side’s rendition of their Sipi Tau war cry.
It set the tone for a fierce opening to the match, after Blair led the Kiwis’ haka as they advanced over halfway to confront the opposition.
“It wasn’t my decision. A few of the leadership group thought what better way for me to play my country of birth than to lead the Sipi Tau.
“I was a bit nervous at the time but its an opportunity I’ll probably never get again.”
Jason Taumalolo admits he has regrets about his move.