Israel Folau could make a return to rugby league before the end of the year.
The former Wallabies star has set his sights on representing Tonga at international level in a series of Tests to be played against England and Australia later this year.
However, Folau’s return will need to be cleared by the Rugby League International Federation, who it is believed are likely to veto the move.
Folau previously played eight Tests for Australia in 2007-09, during a storied NRL career which saw him play 91 games for the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos.
He had a brief stint with the GWS Giants in the AFL from 2011-12 before signing with the NSW Waratahs for the 2013 Super Rugby season.
Folau debuted for the Wallabies in that year and played in 62 Tests for Australia’s national side, scoring 32 tries.
His career came to an abrupt end earlier this year when he was sacked by Rugby Australia for repeatedly posting homophobic material to his social media accounts, contravening RA’s code of conduct.
He is currently in the midst of legal action against Rugby Australia.
Folau will be joined in the Tonga team by his brother, John, who was a part of the Waratahs squad in 2019.
“This is great news”, said Tonga coach Frank Endacott.
“These guys are great footballers and bring size, pace and skill to the team. They will make a huge impact in the team and provide exciting attack options all over the park.”
“This will be great boost to the internationals, and I cant wait to see the crowd support that this will generate from our famous Mate Ma’a Tonga supporters.”