By Back MCeachen of express.co.uk
Rugby World Cup star Charles Piutau has opened up on how he and his Tonga team-mates have been forced to wash their own kits and practice with replica rugby balls ahead of the tournament in France, dramatically highlighting the stark contrast in resources between teams.
Pitau and his team were defeated 59-16 by Ireland in their opening game, but despite the visibly tight finances they will be hoping to bounce back with a positive result against Scotland on Sunday.
Piutau made 17 caps for New Zealand but has not been picked since 2015, with Tonga taking advantage of the World Rugby eligibility amendment that allows players to switch national teams if they haven’t played for one team for three years and are eligible to represent another country.
Coming from New Zealand to a Tier Two side in Tonga was a culture shock, Piutau admitted, having opened up on how the team sometimes have to pay out of their own pockets to travel for training camps prior to the World Cup and are not always able to replenish their bodies after training sessions.
“It’s a lot to take in,” Pitau told The Telegraph. “It is a different experience coming into a Tier Two nation with the resources that we have, the time we have together as a team. It’s just about helping the guys around me in the environment to get better. The best thing I can do for the team is be at my best and try to perform.”