“There are no snacks and we wash our own tools.”

FORMER All Black Charles Piutau has revealed the vast differences between playing for the top tier and tier two teams – from the quality of equipment to nutrition – after he switched allegiance to Tonga a year before the World Cup.

Piutau, who left Bristol Bears this summer after five years at the club, won 17 caps for New Zealand between 2013 and 2015. Born in Auckland, Piutau qualified for Tonga through his parents and made his debut for the national team in July last year. Having last featured for the New Zealanders more than three years ago.

In the wake of Tonga’s 59-16 defeat to Ireland in Nantes, Piutau revealed to Telegraph Sport the move between the top two tiers in Test rugby.

“It’s a big thing to take in,” Piotau admitted. “It’s a different experience coming to a second-tier country with the resources we have, and the time we spend together as a team. It’s just about helping the people around me in the environment improve. The best thing I can do for the team is to be the best I can be and try Deliver performance.”

When asked what surprised him most, Piutau replied: “It’s the lack of resources. We came to the Tongan team and had almost no kit, one pair of shorts to train all week, and we always had to wash everything every day. We may not eat snacks.” To replenish our energy after the gym session. Sometimes we may have to cover our flights to get to the training camps. I think sometimes all those things off the field can add up.

“Before we started the Rugby World Cup camp, we were struggling to find rugby balls. We were using replicas from the regular store and they were not the real thing. We are grateful to now be in a regular environment where these things can help us prepare for the match and give us good chance.

“What I was part of before with the All Blacks, all you needed to worry about was playing that game and doing your bit in that shirt. You could come (to training) naked and end up with enough clothes on that you don’t need – and get a watch.”

One of five former All Blacks players to feature for Tonga against Ireland, along with Faia Fifita, Augustine Bulu, Pita Ahki and Malakai Pheketua, Piutau noted that before the Tongans arrived at their training base in France they were not even able to train with proper equipment. Match balls.

Fikitwa had said before Tonga’s first World Cup match that being in France and being provided with the best equipment had led to “the best few weeks for us” in training, adding: “We’re getting things like everyone else now, in a nice hotel, better balls.” “Better food.”

Despite limited resources and a difficult first match of the tournament against the number one team in the world, Piutau felt positive about how Tonga dealt with those challenges, noting how those players who have been representing Tonga for some time have continued to overcome the lack of resources. resources throughout their Test careers ahead of facing Scotland on Sunday.

“That’s just part of the difference between ‘Tier One’ and ‘Tier Two’ countries. One thing I was very proud of was seeing how resilient these guys are in the Tonga team. We’ve done a lot of testing and they continue to try to do their best for Tonga and perform On the field.

    (Tags for translation)Tonga Rugby Union Team(R)Rugby World Cup France 2023(R)Rugby Union(R)Sport(R)Standard

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