Jason Taumalolo's tenure with Tonga has started on an interesting note.

The barnstorming forward - winner of the Dally M medal - controversially changed his eligibility from New Zealand to represent Tonga at the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.

However, the Tonga team has been forced to leave him behind - temporarily.

The Cowboys front rower was asked to leave the team's flight to Tonga on Thursday after it was overloaded, with too much weight on the plane.

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Taumalolo and former New Zealand Warriors hooker Siliva Havili were asked to stay behind to catch a later flight, revealed Tonga coach Kristian Woolf.

"We all got on the plane... then they decided that there was too much weight on the plane," Woolf told TVNZ.

"They had to offload a couple of guys and unfortunately, one of those was Jason."

"It was a funny one."