Tonga star Tui Lolohea makes World Cup ambition clear six months out from tournament

Huddersfield Giants full-back Tui Lolohea believes Tonga can go all the way and win the World Cup on English soil.

The opening game of the tournament is exactly six months away, although Tonga will need to wait a little longer to get their campaign up and running.

Kristian Woolf's side face Papua New Guinea in their opening game on October 18 and are the favourites to top a group that also contains Wales and the Cook Islands.

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Lolohea - one of the early frontrunners for Super League's Man of Steel award - already has one eye on the global showpiece.

Tui Lolohea was part of the Tonga side that beat Great Britain and Australia in 2019. (Picture: SWPix.com)

"I'm looking forward to it," he told The Yorkshire Post.

"Another reason why I want to play some consistent footy is that I want to go to the World Cup and win it. I want to be the best team in the world.

"For such a small country and a tier-two nation, we've shown we can compete with the best teams. It's another opportunity at the end of the year."

Tonga sent shockwaves through rugby league when they claimed back-to-back wins over Great Britain and Australia at the end of 2019.

Tui Lolohea has been a key man for Huddersfield Giants in 2022. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Lolohea is hoping they can pick up where they left off later this year.

"I'm confident," he said. "We've had some good success since that last World Cup and hopefully we can build on that.

"We've not been together for a couple of years which is probably going to hurt us a bit but if we can get a good hit-out before the World Cup, that'll give us confidence going into it."

Tonga is still recovering from a natural disaster that rocked the island nation.

As well as giving Tongans a tournament to remember, Lolohea is hoping to pick up new supporters along the way.

"Hopefully we can get a lot of the English fans behind Tonga," he said.

"We're a passionate team. My partner always laughs at me but our saying 'Mate Ma'a Tonga' means 'die for Tonga'. That just sums up the passion we have for our country.

"Our people don't have much so winning for them and seeing their reactions back home would be priceless."