Returning cancer survivor and Benetton Treviso forward Nasi Manu headlines Tonga’s 31-man squad for the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup.
The 31-year-old loose forward missed Benetton Treviso’s entire 2018-19 Pro14 season after being diagnosed with testicular cancer at the end of last year.
Manu has since miraculous recovered from undergoing chemotherapy treatment for the illness and is poised to make his first appearance for Tonga since last June.
He had a medical check-up last month but by being named for the Pacific Nations Cup, he could be well on his way to featuring for Tonga at the Rugby World Cup.
Eight players are with Top 14 or Pro D2 clubs in France, a further eight are signed with Premiership or Championship sides in England, four are in the Global Rapid Rugby competition, three players – including Manu – play in the Pro14, three more are signed with provincial unions in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup, while Sam Lousi is the only Super Rugby player, and Faiva is with SilverStorm El Salvador in Spain’s Division de Honor.
Tonga Pacific Nations Cup squad 2019:
Paea Fa’anunu (Castres), Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (Stade Francais), Toma Taufa (Bayonne)*, Paul Ngauamo (Agen), Elvis Taione (Exeter Chiefs), Sefo Sakalia (Asia Pacific Dragons), Ma’afu Fia (Ospreys), Siua Halanukonuka (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Tameifuna (Racing 92), Leva Fifita (Grenoble), Onehunga Havili (Exeter Chiefs), Sam Lousi (Hurricanes)*, Steve Mafi (Castres), Zane Kapeli (Bay of Plenty), Fotu Lokotui (Kagifa Samoa), Nasi Manu (Benetton Treviso), Sione Vailanu (Saracens), Ma’ama Vaipulu (Castres).
Sami Fisilau (Auckland Marist), Leon Fukofuka (Kagifa Samoa), Tane Takulua (Newcastle Falcons), James Faiva (SilverStorm El Salvador)*, Latiume Fosita (Kagifa Samoa), Otumaka Mausia (Auckland)*, Siale Piutau (Bristol Bears), Nafi Tuitavake (Northampton Saints), Viliami Lolohea (Papatoetoe), Afa Pakalani (Eastwood), Cooper Vuna (Bath), Tevita Halaifonua (Coventry), Fetuli Paea (Tasman).