Nelson Asofa-Solomona won't be joining league's continental drift, declaring that he wants to remain a Kiwis player for life.

Former teammate Martin Taupau grabbed the headlines last week, when he changed allegiance to Samoa, a day after being named in the Kiwis wider squad.

Broncos winger Jamayne Isaako, who played made his test debut for New Zealand in Denver last year and also toured England, soon followed Taupau's lead.

But Asofa-Solomona, who also has Samoan heritage, won't be.


"Nothing will [make me] consider that," said the 23-year-old. "I'll be in the black jersey forever."

Who doesn't want to play for this black jersey? It's a true honour and I will never turn my back on this jersey."

The Storm prop, who made his Kiwis debut at the 2017 World Cup, emphasized there was nothing wrong with the decisions of Taupau and Isaako.

"It's each to their own. You only get one chance in life and their heart is saying go back to their heritage and they can do that. But they have to live with that as well.

I'm a true believer in follow your heart and that is what they have chosen to do and I back them."

For Asofa-Solomona, who was strongly pursued by the Hurricanes before joining the Storm straight out of school in 2010, his stance was down to loyalty to his country of birth.

"My parents moved here from Samoa for a better life," said Asofa Solomona. "They have been living here for longer than they have in Samoa. For me, I've been born and bred here and New Zealand has given me and my family so much. It is a no brainer to represent this black jersey. It's a good way to give back so this is where my mind is at."

Saturday's rematch with Tonga is particularly special for the 2.02m, 122 kilo forward, given the drama of the last clash in 2017. His pre-kickoff confrontation with Andrew Fifita — when they ended up nose to nose after the Tongans advanced on the Kiwis haka — is an enduring memory of that afternoon in Hamilton.


"He just happened to be in front of me," said Asofa-Solomona. "It could have been anyone at that time. It happened to be him, in the same position. [But I'm keen] to rip into the Tongans again and I thrive off emotion. In the haka you lay down the challenge and they accept it. When I played in that test I played with a lot of passion, keen to do that again."

Despite more than nine years in the highly structured Storm system, Asofa-Solomona remains prone to moments where his emotions boil over, with a stomp of Kiwis team mate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves during a round six NRL clash the most recent.

"I've thought about that…how I will control my emotion and be a more disciplined?" said Asofa-Solomona. "There's been a few times when I have done a few questionable things.
I'm trying to control my emotion and remember why I am here and that is to play football."

The Kiwis had a light session on Tuesday, mainly focused on attacking plays. Captain Dallin Watene Zelezniak's heavily bruised eye socket is improving, and he joked he could see fine during training.

The 23-year-old is also unconcerned about where he plays on Saturday, stating he will just be happy to be in the team.

Despite being highly impressive in the No 1 jersey in four tests last year, Watene Zelezniak is expected to shift to the wing for Saturday's game, to make way for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.