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'The dream is still alive' - Nasi Manu targets Tonga World Cup spot after cancer battle

Former Highlanders captain Nasi Manu says he's not given up his dream of playing this year's Rugby World Cup for Tonga, despite his battle with testicular cancer.

Nasi Manu on the burst for Highlanders Source: Photosport

Now playing club rugby in Italy with Benetton Treviso, Manu's cancer treatment has so far proven successful, with the three-Test international targeting a return to the pitch before the World Cup.

Speaking to Rugby World magazine, Manu spoke about his hopeful return, with cancer putting his rugby career into a new perspective.

"I really feel like a new man now," Manu said.

"I am happy to hurt. I'm training, doing cardio, and it feels good to get back to some normality. I think for a little bit, I took things for granted. Now I know how important it is I make the most of this opportunity.

Manu also said that battling cancer has also made him realise what he wants out of the rest of his playing career, setting sights firmly on Japan 2019.

"Going through cancer and chemo has been a great sort of awakening for what I really want and my rugby goals, my life goals. I sort of narrowed down what's important to me.

"It's always been a dream to compete on the world stage, to play in a World Cup. The dream is still alive to maybe achieve that this year."