NRL: Papali'i decision another body blow for Kiwis

Josh Papali'i has pledged allegiance to Australia. Photo / Getty Images
Josh Papali'i has pledged allegiance to Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Blockbusting Canberra back-rower Josh Papali'i has turned his back on New Zealand by pledging his representative allegiance to Queensland and Australia.

Named in the Kiwis train-on squad for next month's test against Australia in Townsville after playing for the Junior Kiwis in 2011, the 20-year-old is instead turning his attention to Australia.

His switch is another blow for the Kiwis and international rugby league, after North Queensland prop James Tamou also rejected his country of birth to turn out for New South Wales and the Kangaroos earlier this year.

Canterbury sensation Sam Kasiano - named prop of the year at the Dally M awards - is also at the centre of a tug-of-war over his services with both the Kiwis and Maroons laying claim.

Papali'i, who moved to Australia when he was six, said he consulted with his family before making the call to go with the country in which he played all his junior football.

In 2009, Papali'i represented Queensland under-18s and also played for the Queensland schoolboys.

"Family is very important for me and my family has helped me over the past few days to make the decision to make myself available for Australia and Queensland," he said.

"I played for the Junior Kiwis last year and feel very humbled to have the chance to play for them, but in the end I knew in my heart that I want to play for where I grew up and have had so many wonderful memories."

- AAP

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