25 Jul 2019

Sport: Cancer survivor to lead Tonga against Samoa

11:47 am on 25 July 2019

Nasi Manu, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year, has been named as captain of the Tongan side to take on Samoa in this weekend's rugby test in Apia.

'Ikale Tahi coach Toutai Kefu has named a squad which is notable for a handful of newcomers, including former Hurricanes lock Sam Lousi, and the return of 30 year old Manu.

Manu, a former captain of the Highlanders Super Rugby team, played three tests for Tonga before missing the entire season for his Italian club Bennetton Treviso to undergo chemotherapy and testicular cancer surgery.

Tonga new cap Nasi Manu.

Tonga new cap Nasi Manu. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Vinnie Wylie

The match on Saturday is the 'Ikale Tahi's first in their World Cup build up which will culminate with a test against New Zealand in September.

Coach Toutai Kefu said there had been a few injury concerns but he was pleased about the squad he had gathered together .

Lousi is one of four new caps in the Tongan squad, alongside Bayonne prop Toma Taufa, Tonga A first five James Faiva and Auckland midfielder Otumaka Mausia.

Toutai Kefu said the former New Zealand Warriors rugby league player, who also played for the Waratahs and will join Welsh club Scarlets next season, is a player he's been chasing for a long time.

Tonga Squad for Samoa Test

1. Paea Fa'anunu 2. Elvis Taione 3. Ben Tameifuna 4. Leva Fifita 5. Sam Lousi (first cap) 6. Onehunga Havili 7. Maama Vaipulu 8. Nasi Manu (Captain) 9. Samisoni Fisilau 10. James Faiva (first cap) 11. Viliame Lolohea 12. Cooper Vuna 13. Malietoa Hingano (first cap) 14. Tevita Halaifonua 15. Nafi Tu'itavake

Reserves: 16. Sefo Sakalia 17. Toma Taufa(uncapped) 18. Ma'afu Fia 19. Zane Kapeli 20. Fotu Lokotui 21. Sione Vailanu 22. Leon fukofuka 23. 'Otumaka Mausia (uncapped)