Rugby League: Frank Endacott appointed Mate Ma'a Tonga coach

Former NZ Warriors and Kiwis coach Frank Endacott has been appointed Mate Ma'a Tonga boss for upcoming tests against Great Britain and Australia.

Endacott replaces Kristian Woolf, who spent five years in the job, but was sacked after a public spat. 

Along with Endacott's appointment, Duanne Mann has been appointed as the team's football director, while Manu Vatuvei and Lesley Vainikolo will serve as assistant coach and trainer respectively.

"I'm excited about the challenge," he told Newshub. "A couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have given it a thought but I'm excited about this opportunity. 

"I had received a few calls from Tonga and there were some complications between the board and players. They asked if the position came up, would I be available so I told them to sort everything out and when they offered it to me, I took it."

Endacott admitted, if Tonga was playing the Kiwis, he may not have accepted the role, but he couldn't turn down the chance to coach against Great Britain and Australia once again. 

"It's always a challenge to take on the top teams. Both Australia and Great Britain have been in the echelon for years. 

"The Mate Ma'a Tonga players are world class, and we see how good they are every week in both the NRL and Super League. 

"To have a chance to work with these players will be outstanding."

Endacott is confident he will have a full pod of players to select from, despite reports that Tonga's elite players would return to New Zealand and Australia national teams, if Woolf was sacked. 

"They have some exciting players," he told Newshub. "If we're going to compete against Australia and Great Britain, everyone needs to be available.

"The players love to play for their country and they've made too much headway over the last two years to lose the momentum. We want to stay there or go upwards. 

"I understand the Tongan board are speaking to the player individually, but i'm optensist they'll be available and we'll have two competitive games."

Tonga face Great Britain in Hamilton on October 26 and Australia at Eden Park on November 2.


Join us for live updates of the international rugby league test between Tonga and Great Britain on October 26

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