TODAY |

Tonga star Nasi Manu relishing return to rugby after winning cancer battle

Nasi Manu is relishing a return to the Tonga squad after overcoming testicular cancer.

The co-captain who delivered the Highlanders their first ever Super Rugby title is back in the country as part of the Tongan squad preparing for the Rugby World Cup.

He has barely stopped smiling one month after learning the toughest year of his life was finally behind him.

“Just overwhelmed with happiness after being given the good news on June the 16th that I was fully made remission and obviously the hair started coming back, I don't have heaps but,” a laughing Manu told 1 NEWS.

It's been almost four years since the 30-year-old Cantabrian left our shores after creating history with the Highlanders.

But fast forward to last October and he was in the battle of his life, having been diagnosed with testicular cancer while playing in Italy.

“I knew something was wrong because my Italian's not that great and he like tapped me on the knee and said, 'Ah you have what Lance Armstrong have.' and then I said, 'Oh, OK,' but then he said, 'But don't worry, it's alright, we'll sort it out',” he said.

Within four hours, they operated to remove the growth, but then the tough part - four rounds of chemotherapy with family travelling back and forth from New Zealand to support.

His Treviso teammates were right behind him, along with Kiwi Coach Kieran Crowley.

“The support I've received, I just couldn't believe it,” he said.

It was a remarkable sight to see him back training in February, bringing with him an important message.

“I was embarrassed and in hindsight, I think I could have seen them a bit earlier," he said. "If you feel something's not right with your body you shouldn't be embarrassed, but I know especially Pacific Islanders, we're embarrassed around that area."

He's set to add to three Test caps for Tonga in the coming Pacific Nations Cup, an inspirational journey that will continue with a one-off Test against the All Blacks before realising his World Cup dream in September.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The man who was a co-captain as the Highlanders broke their Super Rugby drought has barely stopped smiling as he prepares for RWC with Tonga. Source: 1 NEWS