Kangaroos vow to match Tonga's passion

Jason Taumalolo of Tonga leads the Sipi Tau ahead of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Semi Final match between Tonga and England. Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Australia insist they won't be out-enthused by Tonga in Saturday's historic Test, with prop Aaron Woods declaring there is just as much passion in the Kangaroos' jersey.

This weekend's clash in Auckland comes after a year of pushing for the Test from Tongan players and management, after they set last year's World Cup alight as they reached the semi-finals.

The decisions of Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo to turn their backs on Australia and New Zealand to play for the Pacific nation last year also brought a groundswell of support for the Mate Ma'a team, with a sold-out crowd expected in Auckland.

Tonga's squad also includes try-scoring machines David Fusitu'a and George Jennings, as well as Will Hopoate, Tevita Pangai Junior and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

But Woods said the team weren't concerned about being ambushed by Tonga, as they look to avoid just their second back-to-back losses in 40 years after Saturday's 26-24 defeat by the the Kiwis.

"We're in the green and gold as well. There's a lot of passion here," Woods said.

"Anyone who puts the jersey on in this group loves it.

"Everybody talks about these Pacific nation teams, but coming into this (Test and playing for Australia) is the best thing we can do.

"It is the pinnacle of the sport for us Australians and it's something we love doing.

"We feel like we let down Australia last week and we owe it to our fans and our families to rectify what we did last week and play some good footy this Saturday."

Woods' comments come after coach Mal Meninga has stressed the importance of fixing an apparent disconnect with the Australian jersey since taking over as coach in 2016.

He has placed significant importance on the history of the Kangaroos' jersey, the team's values and honoured seven former players that died in World War I in the lead up to last week's Test.

"We hear about how nothing will ever compare to the people who have gone through the wars and the sacrifices people have made," winger Dane Gagai said.

"Obviously the sacrifices we make are nowhere near what they've done.

"But it just gives you a lot of respect for this jersey and what people have done to be able to live in a free country.

"You just don't want to let your mates down beside you. It's all about mateship and that's something he has been driving this whole camp."