The head of the Tonga Rugby Union has quit in a row over whether former captain Nili Latu should have been included in the World Cup squad and against a background of parliamentary interference.
Tongan rugby's Chief Executive and board Chairman Bob Tuckey's resignation comes just three weeks before Tonga play the All Blacks in the opening World Cup match in Auckland on September 9.
Tuckey resigned before the World Cup squad was officially announced and head coach Isitolo Maka told Matangi Tonga Online that he had voiced dissatisfaction with the selection of Latu.
However, when the squad was publicly released on Tuesday after Tuckey's resignation, the rugged flank's name had been deleted.
New Tongan Chairman Tevita Latailakepa said Latu had not followed the correct procedure for selection.
Latu captained Tonga at the 2007 World Cup where he made headlines for a controversial tackle that floored England's Lewis Moody.
He has since been out of favour in Tonga after reportedly seeking more money for players, and has not been required for the side this year.
Speaking before the World Cup announcement, Maka, who advised Latu to make up with the board, said he needed the player in his squad.
"It was a hard decision for me to make to select him, but my country comes first, and I need him on the side of the scrum," Maka said.
"I did not know that Bob was going to resign over it. My decision was based purely on what I thought was best for my country."
But when Latu's name was culled after Tuckey's resignation, Maka said: "At the end I am just the coach, there are people above me."
Tuckey, an Australian, has also been under pressure from a group of politicians in parliament who wanted him replaced with an MP, although this move was opposed by members of the Tongan team.
Last week, the Tongan parliament voted 13-4 in favour of Finance Minister Sunia Fili appointing a new chairman and a deputy chairman.
Deputy Prime Minster Samiu Vaipulu told parliament Tuckey's departure was due to his fall-out with Maka and not because of political pressure.
Forwards: Aleki Lutui, Ephraim Taukafa, Ilaisa Ma'asi, Alisona Taumalolo, Kisi Pulu, Soane Tonga'uiha, Halani 'Aulika, Taufa'ao Filise, Paino Hehea, Sione Timani, Tukulua Lokotui, Joseph Tu'ineau, Sione Kalamafoni, Finau Maka, (Captain), Viliami Ma'afu, Samiu Vahafolau, Sione Vaiomo'unga.
Backs: Taniela Moa, Thomas Palu, Samisoni Fisilau, Kurt Morath, Siale Vailea Piutau, Alipate Fatafehi, Andrew Ma'ilei, Sukanaivalu Hufanga, William Helu, Fetu'umoana Vainikolo, Alaska Taufa, Viliame 'Iongi, Vungakoto Lilo (Vice Captain).
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