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Tonga's Nasi Manu gained inspiration from ex-All Black in cancer comeback

Tonga's Nasi Manu revealed that he'd been given inspiration from former All Blacks first-five Aaron Cruden in his battle to return to rugby after testicular cancer.

Manu, 31, returned to the Tonga camp earlier this year, having gone into remission for testicular cancer, and will take part in this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

A return to Test rugby was put on hold, though. Ruled out of Tonga's Pacific Nations Cup campaign with injury, that decision has carried through into this weekend's clash against the All Blacks in Hamilton.

Speaking to 1 NEWS at Tonga's fan day in Hamilton, Manu opened up about his battle with cancer, and the help of Cruden, who also returned to a successful rugby career after battling the disease.

"I've worked pretty hard since I got the all clear from the doctor in April to start some physical activity," Manu said.

"The first person I thought about, in terms of hope, was Aaron Cruden when I found out the news.

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Smith says Manu’s leadership will add another dimension to ‘Ikale Tahi. Source: 1 NEWS

"He actually reached out and I reached out to him, got to talk to him about his experience. It's an inspirational story himself, getting past the cancer and playing his best rugby in front of him.

"Obviously, I'm a bit older [than Cruden was], but for me it's just all about health, being back to full health, and being able to be the father that I wanted to be, a husband and still play professional rugby, it's great."

While disappointed to miss out on facing the All Blacks this weekend, Manu has his sights set on achieving his dream of playing in a World Cup, targeting Tonga's opening match against England in Sapporo on September 22.

"I would have loved to play [against] the All Blacks this week, but my dream has always been to [play] a World Cup, that dream is alive for me.

"With my rehab going smoothly, I should be available for the first game."

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The former Highlanders captain was aided by Aaron Cruden in his fight against testicular cancer. Source: 1 NEWS