A Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Tonga can utilize two players initially deemed ineligible, but only if the South Pacific island team makes it to the Rugby League World Cup semifinals.
Justice Richard White in the New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that Fuifui Moimoi and Taniela Tuiaki, who both play with Sydney-based teams in Australia's National Rugby League, can take part in the tournament after Nov. 12.
The two players, who've played for Tonga previously, were initially ruled ineligible for the World Cup because they were part of a New Zealand side which toured Britain in early 2007. Players are only able to transfer international allegiance once every two years under the Rugby League International Federation's guidelines.
Justice White ruled that the two-year time limit expires on Nov. 12 for both players. The semifinals begin Nov. 15.
Moimoi, a prop, plays for Parramatta and Tuiaki is a winger with Wests Tigers.
"We're happy with that ruling," Tonga team manager William Edwards said outside the court.
"Were happy that Fuifui and Taniela are coming to camp, because they are a positive influence on the boys. We would have liked to have had them earlier, but to have them there is a real positive for us."
Tonga opened its tournament Monday with a 22-20 win over Ireland in a pool match. It will have a good chance of advancing to the semifinals if it can beat Samoa in its next match Friday.