Coupe du monde de rugby 2023 : Pita Ahki, d’une île à une autre ! Le joueur du Stade Toulousain porte désormais les couleurs des Tonga

l’essentiel Le centre du Stade Toulousain, né en Nouvelle-Zélande, va défendre les couleurs des Tonga lors de cette Coupe du monde. Une spécificité autorisée par World Rugby depuis 2022.

At nearly 31 years old, Pita Ahki will be participating in his very first World Cup. However, he will not be doing so wearing the black jersey of New Zealand, his birth country. Instead, he will be representing Tonga, his mother’s homeland. The center for Stade Toulousain is able to do this due to the relaxed eligibility rules set by World Rugby. These new guidelines, implemented since January 2022 by the global rugby governing body, allow players to represent a nation other than the one stated on their passport, under specific conditions.

Can you name the 17 players from Stade Toulousain who will be participating in the 2023 Rugby World Cup?

A player can switch national teams once during their career. In order to do so, they must not have worn the jersey of their first team for more than three years, and either they or their parents (or grandparents) must have been born in the country they wish to play for. The player, whose mother was born on a Pacific island, will be able to play with the red jersey in the World Cup after joining Toulouse in 2018 (107 matches, 10 tries). It is a return to his roots for someone who has already represented Tonga in his youth, playing for the under-20s, before representing the Baby-Blacks and the New Zealand rugby sevens team (39 matches).

Ahki contre Aki

This Saturday in Nantes, he will wear the « Eagles of the Sea » jersey for the fifth time in his life, facing the formidable Irish team of his namesake, Bundee Aki, who also plays in the same position as him and was his teammate at Connacht before coming to Toulouse. Ahki against Aki will undoubtedly be one of the match’s duels. The Irishman made a strong impression in the first game against the modest Romania (scored twice). Pita Ahki has been warned.

Charlie Faumuina aussi a changé de maillot

He has worn the All Blacks jersey 50 times but will also represent another nation in this World Cup: former Toulouse player Charlie Faumuina, whose contract ended last June, will wear the Samoa jersey. Just like Pita Ahki, the right prop whose family has Samoan origins, he benefits from World Rugby’s new rule. He has been followed by many former All Blacks legends who have joined the Samoa team for this tournament, including Steven Luatua and Lima Sopoaga, to name a few. Samoa will kick off against Chile at 3 PM (read below for more details).