New Zealand captain Adam Blair has admitted when he first heard a handful of players had defected to Tonga for the World Cup, he didn't want them anywhere near a Kiwi jersey ever again.
"If you'd asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said – I may have said – I wouldn't want them back in there," Blair told Fairfax Media.
"The more you sit down and think about things, the more you look at stuff, the more things you take into consideration.
"They're quality players that you want to be a part of your team.
"It was obviously disappointing how it all happened but you've got to give them respect for that they want to do.
"Now it's just made the competition heaps better."
North Queensland Cowboys enforcer Jason Taumalolo along with Manu Ma'u, David Fusitu'a and Sio Siua Taukeiaho ditched the Kiwi jersey in favour of representing Tonga.
New Zealand face Tonga in the final group game on November 11 at 3pm AEDT.