Michael Jennings

Michael Jennings out of Mate Ma'a Tonga squad to face Kiwis

As the Tongan team cut their squad to 19 on Monday, the loss of Jennings was the biggest blow.

The forced withdrawal of the 31-year-old who has played 10 Tests for Tonga and seven for Australia leaves Solomone Kata (Warriors) and Kotoni Staggs (Broncos) as the logical choices to play in the centres in Auckland on Saturday. 

"It is a shame to lose Michael because he has really been playing well for Parramatta," Mate Ma'a Tonga coach Kristian Woolf said.

"He has also brought wonderful experience to our side through the 2017 World Cup and in Tests last year.

Jennings commits to Tonga

The Parramatta Eels centre confirmed he will feature in the Pacific Test against Samoa at Campbelltown on June 23.

Jennings played for both Australia and New South Wales Blues before pledging his allegiance to Tonga ahead of the World Cup last year and tied his colours to the mast on Wednesday.

"My focus now is Tonga," the 30-year-old said.

"I'd love to play Origin but I made the decision I wanted to stay after the World Cup.

Eels' Jennings wary of old club

And while it won't be the first time Eels centre Michael Jennings lines up against his former club, the 29-year-old is yet to beat them in Parramatta colours and is keen to change that when the two sides clash on Saturday afternoon in the 'Battle of the West'.