Tonga will be without star internationals Israel Folau, Malakai Fekitoa and Charles Piutau for their World Cup playoff against Hong Kong on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Outside back Folau, capped 73 times for Australia before his Wallabies contract was terminated in 2019, suffered a serious hamstring injury early in his Tonga debut in the 36-0 loss to hosts Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup.
Coach Toutai Kefu told Reuters the dual code international could be sidelined for up to another 12 weeks.
Former New Zealand centre Fekitoa had returned to Irish club Munster after suffering a calf injury while fellow All Black Piutau had only committed to two matches during the Pacific Nations Cup, Kefu added.
In a further blow, former Australia No.8 Lopeti Timani had also been scratched from the Hong Kong game after failing a fitness test at training on Thursday morning.
His place on the bench will…